Palace hits ‘noisy’ human rights group’s motion before ICC
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang slammed Monday the filing of a supplemental motion before the International Criminal Court (ICC) by human rights group Rise Up for Life and Rights, urging the tribunal to open an investigation into President Duterte’s war on drugs.
Rise Up, which presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo tagged as a group of “noisy anti-Duterte critics and detractors” known for resorting to “political theatrics and gimmickry,” filed the motion while Duterte was in Russia last week for a five-day official visit.
“It aims to embarrass President Duterte while he is busy working outside the country to promote the Philippines,” Panelo said in a statement.
“This action is foul, to say the least as this runs contrary to our standard norm and behavior to be united for our leader every time the Chief Executive is in a foreign country building up the image of the country in the international stage,” he added.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said the “motive of the communication is suspect.”
“The detractors’ trumped-up figures have no factual basis and they know that the same allegations will not hold up in court,” Panelo said.
“They are trying to blemish the legitimate operations of our law enforcement personnel, who were only forced to protect themselves in the performance of their duty to serve and protect the people, before an international tribunal which does not have jurisdiction over our country and its leaders,” he added.
The Philippines withdrew from the Hague-based ICC in March 2019, a year after it submitted its intention to withdraw to the United Nations secretary-general.
This came after the ICC Prosecutor in February 2018 announced that it would conduct a preliminary examination of Duterte’s war on drugs for supposedly constituting crimes against humanity.
Since taking power in 2016, Duterte has made the crackdown on illegal drugs the focal point of his administration, continuing the brutal campaign against illegal drugs which he used in Davao City while being its mayor.
Local and international human rights watchdogs have expressed their opposition to his drug war, citing alleged violations of human rights, which the government vehemently denied.
The Palace official said Rise Up “should have the decency to honor the memory of those who died and file actual complaints before our courts” instead of going straight to the ICC.
“Its immediate resort to the ICC, when our courts are able and willing to hear any and all cases in the country, shows that they are using the deaths to pursue its own selfish agenda,” Panelo said. /je
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