Marcos told: Comply with ICC probe to give justice to victims of Duterte's drug war | Global News

Marcos told: Comply with ICC probe to give justice to victims of Duterte’s drug war

By: - Reporter / @BPinlacINQ
/ 11:22 AM January 27, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers and groups have sounded the call for the Philippine government to comply with the resumption of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation to serve justice to the victims of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

This came after the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber gave its go-ahead to the bid of ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan to resume the probe into Duterte’s drug war and the Davao Death Squad killings.


Human rights lawyer and Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares said, “This is a positive development as victims of the fake drug war of the Duterte administration can still get justice even outside Philippine courts.”

He then called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to tread a different path from his predecessor and “instead respect human rights and due process.”


“Huwag siyang maging sunod-sunuran kay Duterte (He shouldn’t be blindly obedient to Duterte). Such a move will not only be for the interest of justice but would also show the international community that the Philippines does not tolerate human rights abuses and impunity,” Colmenares said in a statement.

The former lawmaker also pointed out that since Marcos has been frequenting different countries to show that “everything is alright” in the Philippines, the President should likewise keep in mind that most of the countries he is interacting with are members of the ICC.

“It would be hypocritical for him to assure these countries that everything is alright in the Philippines when we are actually a rogue state under international human rights law and International humanitarian laws,” Colmenares stressed.

The Philippine government’s return to the ICC, according to him, is crucial “to serve justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses and to show the international community that it is trying to correct the abuses of the past administrations, otherwise impunity will continue to escalate in the Philippines.”


Colmenares said they will use the dismissal of the murder complaint against police officers tagged in the death of Manny Asuncion, who was among those killed in the infamous “Bloody Sunday,” to boost their argument before the ICC that “human rights violators remain unaccountable under the Marcos-Duterte administration.”

“Bloody Sunday” refers to the killings of nine activists in simultaneous police-military operations in Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal in March 2021.

READ: Murder raps vs. 17 cops in ‘Bloody Sunday’ raids dismissed


‘Stop stonewalling tactics’

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes said it is high time for the government to comply with the ICC probe and “stop the stonewalling tactics.”

“It is clear that the domestic measures for accountability in the drug war are sorely lacking. The whole world knows this,” he said in a social media post.

Reyes urged Marcos to make certain that the government fully cooperates with the international tribunal’s investigation.


“No amount of foreign trips will wash away the bloody human rights record of the Philippines. Only true justice can put a closure to this horrific chapter in our country’s history,” he added.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson pointed out that the ICC is “the only credible avenue for justice” for Duterte’s drug war victims.

The ICC, according to Robertson, “[offers] a path forward to fill the accountability vacuum.”

PH should not have left ICC

ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro hailed the resumption of the ICC inquiry as “good news.”

But she noted that the Philippines should have never even left the Rome Statute — the treaty that established the ICC — in the first place.

In 2018, Duterte declared the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC, citing “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as against my administration, engineered by the officials of the United Nations, as well as the attempt by the ICC special prosecutor to place my person within the jurisdiction of the ICC.”

Castro said the Philippines should have never withdrawn from the ICC “as it is a crucial institution for seeking justice for victims of human rights abuses.”

“We must ensure that the rule of law prevails and that justice is served for all. It is imperative that those responsible for these crimes are held accountable for their actions, and it would be best that Pres. Marcos Jr. returned to the ICC,” she said in a separate statement.

In September 2021, the ICC said that it was opening a formal inquiry into the Duterte administration’s war on drugs after several petitioners accused him and his subordinates, including his former police chief–Senator Ronald dela Rosa–of being responsible for the death of thousands of alleged drug offenders.

However, the tribunal later suspended its proceedings to assess the Philippine government’s request to defer the probe.

Shortly after clinching the presidency last year, Marcos clarified that “the Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC.”

According to him, there are ongoing investigations in the country, which makes the ICC probe unnecessary.

But several lawmakers, human rights groups and advocates have since decried this decision as they pointed out the need for the country to boost safeguards against human rights abuses.

READ: Bongbong Marcos: PH won’t rejoin ICC; critics hit decision

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