Senator Francis Tolentino will act as Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s legal counsel in case the latter is arrested by International Criminal Court-member countries.
Although the Philippine government does not acknowledge ICC’s jurisdiction over the country, Dela Rosa explained that he is just preparing for this possibility in case he will travel abroad.
“Ready lang tayo dahil baka mamaya babiyahe ako sa ibang bansa tapos meron na in-issue palang warrant of arrest ang ICC. Pagbiyahe ko sa ibang bansa at hulihin ako doon e di kailangan meron akong legal counsel para harapin ang kaso, kung mahuli nila ako,” the lawmaker said in an interview on Dobol B TV.
Asked if he has plans to travel outside the country, Dela Rosa said he will if ICC continues to “annoy” him.
“Kapag nainis ako at gusto ko silang inisin, asarin, babiyahe ako. Eh inaasar nila ako e. E di asaran ito kung gusto nila. Mag-aasaran tayo,” he said.
On Wednesday, Tolentino disclosed that he accepted Dela Rosa’s request to be his legal counsel in all proceedings related to the ICC investigation into the Duterte administration’s drug war.
Dela Rosa said he made the request a long time ago but he only got Tolentino on board due to ICC’s insistence to investigate the drug war of the previous administration.
“Nung una pakipot pa ‘yun e… Eh ngayon na nagkainitan, insisting [‘yung] ICC, nagbago ang isip niya,” he said.
Dela Rosa said Tolentino was his lawyer of choice because of the latter's international criminal law background and eligibility to practice law in different states.
The senator also said that he will repeat Duterte's anti-drug war if given another chance.
“Sa totoo lang, given a second chance na mag-implement ulit ng anti-drug war, I will do the same,” Dela Rosa said.
“Walang ibang paraan itong bansang Pilipinas. Kailangan nito ng kamay na bakal kung gusto mong madisiplina ang mga tao. Kamay na bakal ang kailangan dito sa tigas ng ulo ng mga tao dito. Hirap disiplinahin,” he said.
“Magpabait-bait ka d’yan, magpapogi-pogi ka…magpadisente-disente ka, eh wawalanghiyain ka ng mga gag* dito. Walang mangyari sa Pilipinas,” he added.
Even if there were cases of abuses, Dela Rosa said he would not calibrate the Duterte administration’s anti-drug war strategy as he claimed that there were no marching orders for policemen to kill anyone during his time as PNP chief.
“Nung panahon ko naman e hindi ko naman sila sinasabihan na ‘Larga, bumaril ka nang bumaril kung sino gusto ninyo pumatay ka nang pumatay.’ In fact, lahat naman iniimbestigahan natin ‘yung mga ginagawa nilang kalokohan…but ‘yun nga lang may nangyayari at nangyayari dahil nga sa katagalan ng involvement ng mga pulis sa drugs ay talagang ganon na kalalim ang kanilang partisipasyon,” he said.
“Wala akong dapat baguhin kasi nakikita ko naman na epektibo ‘yon at kung may mag-abuso, inaaksyunan naman natin. Hindi ko naman pwedeng sabihin na pipiliin natin ‘yung pag-operate-an natin, di ko masabi 'yan kasi all out war tayo pagdating sa ganon. Walang pilian,” he added.
The former PNP chief also insisted that he did not tolerate abusive cops and maintained that erring officers must face accountability.
Dela Rosa, who earlier described himself as the "number two accused" in the drug war probe of the ICC, was then-President Rodrigo Duterte’s first Philippine National Police chief.
Duterte's drug war has been blamed for thousands of deaths, with government figures pegged at around 6,000 but human rights groups say it could reach as high as 30,000.
Recently, the ICC rejected the Philippine government’s appeal seeking the reversal of the international tribunals’ decision to resume the probe into the Duterte administration's controversial war on drugs.
In rejecting the Philippines' appeal, the ICC Appeals Chamber said the government failed to explain the court's lack of jurisdiction or to provide an explanation of the implications and scope of the investigation.
It also said that the local investigation can proceed even with the ongoing ICC investigation.
On Tuesday, Marcos said the Philippines will be "disengaging from any contact, communication with the ICC."—AOL, GMA Integrated News