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Duterte: With or without ICC probe, drug war to continue

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday renewed his commitment to dismantle the illegal drug trade which he said will continue regardless whether international groups would push through with their investigation on the human rights situation in the country.

"Maniwala ang human rights o hindi it is not my business to do their bidding. I have a duty to perform and worse, I made it a solemn promise," Duterte said in his speech during the Go Negosyo 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit in Pasay City.

"So the war on drugs will continue with or without ICC [International Criminal Court], with or without the human rights [investigators], with or without the politicians. It will last until the last day of my term as president. After that wala na akong pakialam," he added.

In a separate event, Duterte said the ICC would never have jurisdiction over him.

"You cannot acquire jurisdiction over me not in a million years kaya di ko sinasagot. Totoo yan. Ayoko sabihin that has always been my weapon ever since," he said in a speech during the oath-taking of members of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission in Malacañang.

"They cannot ever hope to acquire jurisdiction over my person. Di nga ako maniwala sa nanay ko, sa kanila pa," the President said.

Last month, the ICC's Office of the Prosecutor announced that it would begin its preliminary examination on the alleged extrajudicial killings associated with the government’s intensified anti-illegal drugs campaign, which kicked off on July 1, 2016.

The preliminary examination is a procedure conducted by the ICC to determine whether the case falls under its jurisdiction.

Iceland, meanwhile, called on the Philippines during the 37th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland to allow, without preconditions, the UN special rapporteur to look into the drug war and cooperate with the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to receive a mission by independent experts to conduct such an assessment without delay.

Duterte, in response, told policemen in Davao City last week not to cooperate with any human rights probe.

Malacañang later clarified that Duterte's order was aimed at “biased” rapporteurs including UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard, a critic of the government’s bloody drug war.

The Palace said 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. — RSJ/BM, GMA News