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EU MP says probe of PH drug killings 'to go on forever', calls for ICC support

The prosecution of perpetrators behind the thousands of killings blamed on the war on drugs under the Duterte administration "will go on forever" with the current pace of the investigation, a member of the European Parliament subcommittee on human rights said on Friday.

This developed as the subcommittee delegation said that the Philippines re-joining the Rome Statute of the ICC "would reinforce the government’s stated commitment to fighting impunity."

The delegation of EU MPs faced members of the media after their three-day visit, in which they met with Philippine officials in both the executive and the legislative branches.

Hannah Neumann, a vice chairperson of the subcommittee, said the support of the ICC would  ensure that the 6,000 killings would be "investigated properly."

"Let us just take 6,000 since it was the number said by Senator Dela Rosa. Those 6,000 cases need to be filed, witnesses have to be found, evidence has to be collected for each and everyone,” Neumann said at the briefing.

"Nine months into the new administration, 25 cases are being investigated and three people charged. This will go on forever if we go on like this. ICC’s support will ensure that the 6,000 cases will be investigated properly," she added.

Neumann said the ICC involvement would help the victims' families and witnesses have the confidence that there will be no harassment and intimidation "by the very same people who killed their loved ones."

"Asking the ICC to come is the perfect way to do it," Neumann said.

GMA News Online has sought comment from the Palace and the Department of Justice on

The ICC in January authorized the reopening of an inquiry into the war on drugs by the Duterte administration.

Then President Rodrigo Duterte pulled the Philippines out of the Hague-based tribunal in 2019 after it began a preliminary probe into the crackdown, followed by the launch of a formal inquiry later that year.

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

Officially, 6,181 people were killed in Duterte's "war on drugs" but rights groups say that up to 30,000 may have been killed.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said last Saturday that he would not cooperate with the inquiry of the ICC, citing questions on the tribunal's jurisdiction and threats to sovereignty.

Neumann said that the human rights situation in the country had improved.

"It was better than it was under President Duterte, that we can clearly state," Neumann said.

"People were game to discuss issues of human rights with us now, which was not the case before. Also, there are pronouncements that could improve things, if they are implemented," she added.

The Marcos administration's campaign against illegal drugs had shifted from punitive to preventive and rehabilitative. —NB, GMA Integrated News