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Remulla: House reso defending Duterte ‘natural’

For Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, the move of some lawmakers to defend former President Rodrigo Duterte from the investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is natural.

“Well, it’s natural, it’s natural,” Remulla said in an ambush interview following a culminating activity at the New Bilibid Prison.

He issued the remark after former President and Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Arroyo and other administration lawmakers filed House Resolution 780, which states that Duterte’s administration “ushered remarkable accomplishments” through the drug war.

According to Remulla, the ICC is a “political body” and is meant to “forward a political agenda.”

“Why do I say this? Because we are a country with a legal system that can function by itself and they want to takeover some of our functions just to criticize the way that we run our country before,” he said.

“Hindi ho tama ‘yan. Kaya ‘yung political agenda na ‘yan, we will not bow down to that. Ang mahalaga talaga is that we run our own justice system in this country,” he added.

(That is not right. This is why we will not bow down to that political agenda. What is important is we run our own justice system in this country.)

The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019 during the Duterte administration.

Due to this, government officials say that the ICC has no jurisdiction in the Philippines.

“If the ICC will insist on coming in, let me tell you this, there is no mechanism by which the ICC can come in because this was not contemplated in the drafting of the law or the treaty where we became a signatory for a few years, which we withdrew from,” Remulla said.

However, Article 127 of the Rome Statute states that “[a] State shall not be discharged, by reason of its withdrawal, from the obligations arising from this Statute while it was a Party to the Statute.”

The ICC has recently authorized the reopening of an inquiry into the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs.

For its part, the Philippine government has submitted a notice of appeal to ICC Appeals Chamber, saying it disagreed and rejected the conclusions of the Pre-Trial Chamber when it authorized the reopening. 


Meanwhile, House dangerous drugs panel chairperson Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte said Duterte’s shoot-to-kill statements against drug personalities is a policy to kill but a quip out of bravado.

Barbers made the response as he was reminded that Duterte had a penchant of vowing to kill drug personalities and being willing to go to jail for it, including a September 2020 comment which went “I told him straight, ‘Drugs are still flowing in. I’d like you to kill there … anyway, I’ll back you up and you won’t get jailed. If it’s drugs, you shoot and kill. That’s the arrangement.”

At the time, Duterte was talking to then-Customs Commissioner Rey Guerrero.

“The crime being charged to the former president [Duterte] is a crime that he has never committed. It is a policy that he issued, the implementation of the policy is different from the crafting of the policy,” Barbers, who also served as chairperson of the House dangerous drugs panel during the Duterte administration, said in an ANC interview.

“Now, if in his pronouncement, speeches, media interviews and the likes...when the former President issued statements such as those [shoot-to-kill], it is out of disappointment, exhaustion over the drug problem. You cannot discount that the former President is a macho guy who issues statements sometimes out of bravado. It (such statement) is more of a bravado than a policy.

Barbers said the Duterte administrations’ drug war policy on paper never gave police officials the order to kill suspects on sight.

“The anti-drug war policy is a document which contains strategies on how we should address the drug menace: demand reduction, supply reduction, rehabilitation and prosecution. It is not a blanket authority issued to law enforcements to implement killing or extrajudicial killings,” Barbers said.

“The implementation of the policy is totally different, so that should be separated. Policy is the instruction, the implementation is the execution. If there is anything that happened between the execution of the policy, the former President should not be faulted,” he added. — with Llanesca T. Panti/RSJ, GMA Integrated News