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Palace: War on drugs can’t be considered as a crime against humanity

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (File photo by JOAN BONDOC / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs could not be considered as a crime against humanity, Malacañang Palace insisted on Wednesday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the International Criminal Court (ICC) could not have a jurisdiction over Duterte and his deadly campaign because of its “legitimate purpose” – to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs.

“Nothing has changed. The president’s stance remains the same – that because the Philippine courts are able and willing, the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction,” Roque said, speaking in Filipino, in a press briefing in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

“At pangalawa po, pagdating sa merito, hindi po pupuwedeng maging crime against humanity ang war against drugs, dahil ang war against drugs po hindi lamang nananarget (target) ng mga civilian, kung hindi ito po ay opisyal na pag-exercise ng police powers of the state and it has a legitimate purpose – to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs,” he added.

“And secondly, in terms of merit, the war against drugs cannot be considered as crimes against humanity because it does not target just civilian population, but it is also an official exercise of the police powers of the state and has a legitimate purpose – to curb the proliferation of illegal drugs,” he said.

On Tuesday, Duterte said he would not allow the ICC to to investigate him because of his controversial crackdown against illegal drugs.

“You cannot acquire jurisdiction over me – not in a million years,” he said. “That’s I’m not replying to it. That’s true. I don’t want to say that it has been my weapon ever since. Shit. Believe it,” he said.

READ: Duterte to ICC: You can’t acquire jurisdiction over me not in a million years

According to Roque, the ICC follows a principle of complementarity, in which the international tribunal may only investigate if a country’s justice system is unable or unwilling to act on a case.

“Philippine courts are still to open to trying case,” he said. “So there‘s no inability or unwillingness. Presidents have no immunity from prosecution for life.” /atm

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