MANILA, Philippines — The pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court has granted its prosecutor’s request to resume the investigation of the Philippines’ war on drugs during the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte.
“Following a careful analysis of the materials provided by the Philippines, the Chamber is not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant investigations that would warrant a deferral of the Court’s investigations on the basis of the complementarity principle,” the ICC said in a statement released Thursday.
In September 2021, the ICC prosecutor announced that it was opening a formal inquiry into the Duterte administration’s drugs war after several petitioners accused him and his subordinates, including his former police chief, Ronald dela Rosa, now a senator, of being responsible for the death of thousands of drug suspects.
But it halted the proceedings in November 2021 at the Philippine government’s request.
Even President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the ICC need not conduct its investigation since Filipinos “have a functioning judiciary.”
But the ICC said the Philippine government’s efforts to probe the drug war “do not amount to tangible, concrete and progressive investigative steps” that sufficiently mirror the ICC investigation.
“After having examined the submissions and materials of the Philippines Government, and of the ICC Prosecutor, as well as the victims’ observations, the Chamber concluded that the various domestic initiatives and proceedings, assessed collectively, do not amount to tangible, concrete and progressive investigative steps in a way that would sufficiently mirror the Court’s investigation,” the ICC further said.
“This conclusion does not preclude the Philippines from providing material in the future in order for the Prosecution, or the Chamber, to determine inadmissibility of the investigation or of any actual case, if and when needed,” the chamber added.
In 2018, critics of the government’s drug war, along with relatives of suspects killed in police operations, filed a complaint against Duterte before ICC for crimes against humanity.
Duterte said he was ready to face the ICC case lodged against him.
Official estimates from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency pegged the drug war deaths at 6,262 people as of May 31 or during Duterte’s time.
READ: 6,252 drug suspects killed as of May 31 – PDEA
Also, the Philippine National Police said 61 people were killed in anti-narcotics operations since 2022 when President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took office.
This was despite the new anti-illegal drugs campaign of the Marcos administration that focuses on demand reduction and drug user rehabilitation instead of the killing of drug users, according to Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos.
READ: Gov’t launches new drug war campaign