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Enrile wants ICC arrested 'if they will come here'

Following the decision of the International Criminal Court to reopen the probe into the violent war on drugs of the former Duterte administration, Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile said Monday that if it were up to him, he will cause the arrest of ICC probers "if they will come here".

"As the lawyer of the President, I will not allow, as far as I'm concerned, I will not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court of justice. They have no sovereign power over us. If they will come here... If I were to be followed, I will cause their arrest," he told reporters.

Enrile maintained that the Philippine government would not allow any of its officials to be investigated and tried by the international court.

Asked if he discussed the matter with President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Enrile said: "Hindi namin pinag-uusapan 'yan (We don't talk about it). That is a non-issue."

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday meanwhile called on the ICC to respect the sovereignty of the Philippines and acknowledge its justice system.

"The PNP encourages the ICC to respect the Philippines' sovereignty and acknowledge the capacity of the Philippines' judicial system," PNP chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said at a press briefing on Monday.

The ICC authorized the reopening of the inquiry, saying its pre-trial chamber “is not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant investigations that would warrant a deferral of the court's investigations.”

The Philippine government, for its part, intends to appeal the resumption of the ICC inquiry.

To recall, former President Rodrigo Duterte pulled the Philippines out of the Hague-based tribunal in 2019 after it began a preliminary probe and later on launched a formal inquiry into his much criticized drug war.

The international probe, however, was suspended in November 2019 after Manila said it was re-examining several hundred cases of drug operations that led to deaths of suspects at the hands of police, hitmen and vigilantes.

Officially, 6,181 people were killed in Duterte's "war on drugs" but rights group say that up to 30,000 may have been killed, some of them innocent victims, and that corruption was rife among security forces that acted with impunity. —KG, GMA Integrated News