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ICC case vs. Duterte can stop 'merciless killings,' says bishop

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said on Tuesday the complaint filed against President Rodrigo Duterte at the International Criminal Court (ICC) would shed light on drug-related killings in the country.

“This is a very good step for the ICC to take serious action against the continuous and seemingly condoned violation of human rights in the Philippines,” Bastes was quoted as saying in a Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website post.

“It is our hope that this move will inject fear into the hearts and minds of the accused officials so that they will eventually and sincerely put a stop to these merciless killings,” he added.

The prelate underscored that the complaint can also be considered as a means to end the killings in relation to the Duterte administration's war against drugs.

The legal counsel of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, Jude Sabio, filed a complaint against Duterte and several government officials for alleged crimes against humanity in relation to the government's war against illegal drugs.

Other officials included in the complaint were: Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno.

The others are Sen. Richard Gordon, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran, Solicitor General Jose Calida, Supt. Edilberto Leonardo, SPO4 Sanson “Sonny” Buenaventura and Supt. Royina Garma.

On the other hand, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said: “People have the right to express what they believe in accordance with the law and procedures.” — BAP, GMA News