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Duterte to ICC: Drug war to continue

President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday the war on drugs will continue amid the International Criminal Court's (ICC) initial review of the allegations against him in connection with the controversial campaign.

“The war or the drive against drugs will not stop and it will last until the day I step out,” Duterte said in a speech in Cebu City.

“If I go to prison, I go to prison. If you want to execute me, look for a country that allows prisoners to be executed by firing squad,” he added.

Duterte earlier said he could not be prosecuted for orchestrating extrajudicial killings attributed to the drug war, saying such crime does not exist in the country's penal laws.

"There is no f—ing provision on extrajudicial killing. It is not defined anywhere," he said in a press conference last Friday.

The President insisted that he never instructed authorities to kill drug suspects.

The ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor said last week that it would begin its preliminary examination on the extrajudicial killings associated with the government’s intensified anti-illegal drugs campaign, which kicked off on July 1, 2016.

Based on data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, a total of 3,968 drug personalities were killed in 80,683 anti-drug operations conducted from July 1, 2016 to Dec. 27, 2017.

A total of 119,023 people were arrested during the same period.

Malacañang had clarified that a preliminary examination does not equate to a formal preliminary investigation, and is merely a procedure conducted by the ICC to determine whether the case falls under its jurisdiction.

The Palace also said that the alleged deaths attributed to the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs were because of lawful police operations, thus these could not be regarded as attacks against civilians. —ALG, GMA News