Former President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday reiterated his position that the International Criminal Court had no jurisdiction in the Philippines.
At an interview at the Heritage Park where he paid his respects to the late former President Fidel V. Ramos, Duterte said, “I am a Filipino. If I will be prosecuted it will be a prosecutor who is a Filipino."
"If I will be judged, it will be a Filipino judge. And if I should go to prison, I should go to Muntinlupa. Nobody but nobody else can sa akin. It has to be our or within our jurisdiction,” Duterte said.
“Wala, matanda na ako. I've no qualms about going to prison. I’m 77, 80. Ano makuha nila sa akin? I can read to death there inside. So many books to read," he added.
"During the six years that I was, well, attending to the affairs of the nation. Marami akong hindi nagawa, kaya gagawin ko na. Wala akong problema d'yan sa ICC, ICC personally,” Duterte said.
The Duterte administration was of the position that the Rome Statute which created the ICC was never published in the Official Gazette.
Asked for comment on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s decision not to rejoin the ICC, Duterte said “I would rather not comment on it actually. I am a civilian, I cannot say anything about it. Tahimik lang muna ako (I'll keep quiet at this time).”
Marcos said on Monday that the Philippines had no intention of rejoining the ICC.
Marcos last week met the members of the administration's legal team to discuss the ICC's investigation of the killings blamed on the war on drugs under Duterte's administration.
Duterte in March 2018 announced that the Philippines was withdrawing from the ICC, which was then looking into whether it had jurisdiction to probe allegations of state sanctioned killings in his war on drugs.
He cited “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and his administration and the alleged attempt of the ICC prosecutor to place him under the tribunal’s jurisdiction.
The ICC in September 2021 authorized the start of the ICC prosecutor's investigation into the killings.
In November 2021, the ICC prosecutor temporarily suspended the investigation after the Philippines requested the tribunal to defer to its government's investigation of its nationals.
The Philippines in its communication to the ICC cited the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) referral to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) of 52 cases where the Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service found administrative liability on the part of the concerned personnel.
The Duterte administration said then that the ICC had no jurisdiction over the Philippine government despite its request for the Hague-based court to defer its probe into the alleged crimes against humanity.
Then acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said in November 2021 that while the ICC had no jurisdiction over the Philippines, “this, however, does not preclude the government from communicating with the ICC."
ICC Chief Prosecutor Khan in June 2022 requested to resume the investigation into the war on drugs of the Duterte administration.
He said that the Philippine government was unable to demonstrate that it investigated or was looking into nationals or others connected with the series of killings linked to the drug war.
The ICC in July 2022 invited the Philippines to provide observations on the prosecutor's request to reopen the investigation into the killings.
The ICC gave the Philippines until September 8, 2022 to provide any observations on the planned reopening of the probe. —Richa Noriega/NB, GMA News