President Rodrigo Duterte remained unfazed on Wednesday by the preliminary investigation being conducted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into his controversial campaign against illegal drugs, noting that the tribunal will “never, never, never” have jurisdiction over him.
He also hinted of a possible move to shield himself from the ICC.
“They want me haled before the ICC,” Duterte said in a speech in Tarlac City on Wednesday. “I do not want to say this now, but they will never, never, never acquire jurisdiction over my person.”
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque insisted on Wednesday that the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign could not be considered as a crime against humanity because of its “legitimate purpose” – curb the proliferation of illegal drugs.
The ICC in February launched a preliminary examination on Duterte’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs, which was believed to have killed thousands of suspected drug criminals.
It will determine if there is a “reasonable basis” to proceed with an investigation in accordance with the criteria established by the Rome Statute.
The ICC has jurisdiction on genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
The preliminary examination stemmed from the complaint filed by Jude Sabio, lawyer of Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad, which was linked to Duterte when he was still mayor of Davao City.
The President has maintained that despite the anti-drug campaign will continue until the last day of his term despite the ICC move.
Duterte was in Tarlac City on Wednesday to lead the 145th founding anniversary of the city and the 2nd Kanlahi Festival at the Bulwagang Kanlahi. /atm