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Bato: I'm with drug war victims' families in seeking justice but not on ICC

Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa on Wednesday said he is one with the families of drug war victims in seeking justice but not on rejoining the International Criminal Court (ICC), which will investigate the bloody anti-drug campaign of the Duterte administration.

"I am with them in their seek of justice. Kasama po nila ako. Sabihin ninyo lang kung ano ang matutulong ko sa inyo and nandito lang po ako tutulong ako sa inyo...kasi ako ayoko rin talagang mayroong abuso na ginagawa lalong-lalo na ang ating kapulisan," Dela Rosa said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

(I am with them in their pursuit of justice. Just tell me what can I do to help because I also do not want abuses, especially if these are perpetrated by the policemen.)

"Ayaw na ayaw ko po 'yon pero, my God, pasensya na kayo kung magkakaiba 'yung paningin natin. Dadalawang korte lang ang haharapin ko — 'yung ating korte sa Pilipinas at 'yung korte natin doon sa langit," he added.

(I don't want these abuses but I'm sorry if we do not share the same perspective on this issue. I will only face two courts — the Philippine courts and the court in heaven.)

Dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police chief who was tagged as the chief architect of Duterte's drug war, said even the complainants would not allow themselves to be prosecuted or tried by foreign courts which have no personal knowledge of what is happening in the country.

"Hindi po ako magpapa-under sa mga korte ng mga banyaga. Kahit kayo man siguro... kayo mga complainant ngayon, kung kayo maakusahan, I'm sure ayaw ninyo magpa-prosecute at magpa-try sa mga banyagang korte na walang alam sa nangyayari dito sa ating bansa," he added.

(I will not submit to these foreign courts. Even these complainants, I'm sure they do not want to be prosecuted or tried by foreign courts which have no idea about the situation in the country.)

In an interview with reporters on Tuesday, Dela Rosa said the truth on the drug war should be revealed by the Philippine courts.

"Sabi ko nga sa inyo e. Right here, right now, pwede ninyo akong bitayin basta ang magbitay sa akin 'yung korte ng Pilipinas hindi foreign court," he said.

On Monday, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said the Philippines has no intention to rejoin the ICC.

The decision was welcomed by Dela Rosa, saying he is "happy" with Marcos' decision being the "number two accused" in the cases pending before the ICC.

Atty. Kristina Conti, who represents around 200 families of drug war victims, earlier expressed concern over Marcos' decision not to rejoin the ICC.

She said the local investigation focuses on individual cases of killings that would only go after people involved in police operations.

The ICC probe, on the other hand, would cover the bigger picture of the deaths including the pattern of the incidents, faults in policies, and the mastermind or most responsible for these ‘widespread’ and ‘systematic’ killings.

The ICC recently "invited" the Philippines to provide observations on its request to reopen the investigation into the Duterte administration's anti-drugs campaign, which is blamed for thousands of deaths of drug suspects.

In an order dated July 14, the ICC gave the Philippines until September 8, 2022, to provide any observations on the planned reopening of the probe.

The ICC then instructed its prosecutor — represented by Karim A. A. Khan and Colin Black — to submit any response to the observations of the Philippines by September 22, 2022.—AOL, GMA News