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Duterte amid ICC developments: If I rot in prison, so be it

Former President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday reiterated that he could not care less about the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is bent on probing his bloody war on drugs over alleged crimes against humanity.

"I would like to reiterate my statement, kayong mga ICC... wala akong pakialam [I couldn't care less about the ICC]," Duterte said during the 32nd national convention of the Prosecutors' League of the Philippines as reported by GMA Regional TV One Mindanao on Saksi.

The feisty former President once again said that he would "stake my name, my honor and my presidency" on the fight against illegal drugs and criminality during his six-year term.

"Dito sa droga, sa criminality, just like Davao, it is a matter of principle for me. And I will die for it. If I rot in prison, so be it," he said.

The ICC's Appeals Chamber has rejected the Philippine government's bid for the suspension of the ICC prosecutor's investigation into the killings in the war on drugs.

The decision came days after the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on March 13 filed an appeals brief which sought the reversal of the ICC's decision to resume the probe into the Duterte administration's anti-drugs campaign.

The government through the OSG had asked the ICC to suspend the investigation while the appeal was ongoing; to suspend the authorization of the ICC to investigate; and to determine that the Prosecution is not authorized to conduct an investigation.

With the Appeals Chamber's decision, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said the Philippines is disengaging from the ICC.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, meanwhile, said he will clarify with Marcos his statement about disengaging from the ICC.

According to Guevarra, the ICC denied the country’s request for a suspensive effect while the main appeal is still ongoing.

The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019, under Duterte. —KBK, GMA Integrated News