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Bato: Marcos assured me ICC won’t be able to touch a single strand of my hair

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Thursday disclosed that then-presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. promised him that the International Criminal Court (ICC) will not be able to touch even a single strand of his hair.

This assurance was made by Marcos when Dela Rosa represented then-vice-presidential bet Sara Duterte in one of the campaign rallies for the 2022 national and local elections.

“During the campaign, nag-usap kami—nu’ng tumatakbo pa lang siya at ako’y nagre-represent kay Mayor Inday Sara… Ang sabi niya ‘Kahit isang buhok mo hindi mahahawakan ng ICC’ kahit na wala akong buhok ha,” Dela Rosa shared to reporters in an online interview.

The senator said he took this not only as a personal promise but a commitment to the country that he will defend the Philippine sovereignty.

“Not only a promise for me personally, but a promise to the country, for the nation na dedepensahan talaga niya ang soberanya ng ating bansa at hindi siya basta basta magpapabully diyan sa mga entities na ‘yan like ICC,” he said.

GMA News Online asked Malacanang to confirm Dela Rosa’s statement but has yet to receive a reply as of posting time.

Meanwhile, Dela Rosa took a swipe at Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros over the latter’s statement criticizing Marcos’ move to “disengage” from the ICC.

Hontiveros earlier said disengaging from the ICC “will embarrass the Philippines on the international stage” and added that the President “seems to be protecting an ally, when he should be protecting the Filipino people.”

“Siya ba, sigurado ka ba na ang gusto niyang protektahan ‘yung human rights ng tao or personal lang ang gusto nila na talagang galit sila kay [former] President [Rodrigo] Duterte?” Dela Rosa  said.

“Gagamitin nila ‘yung human rights kuno pero ang nasa likuran ng utak nila vindictiveness. Galit sila sa Duterte administration. ‘Yan ang nasa utak ng mga yellow na ‘yan,” he added.

Dela Rosa further questioned the “genuineness” of Hontiveros’ intention to fight for human rights victims.

“Hindi ako naniniwala na ganun ka-genuine ‘yung kanilang intention. Human rights, human rights kuno. 'Wag ninyo akong bilugin. Maniwala ako sa inyo,” he said.

“Mayroon bang lumapit kay [former Senator Antonio] Trillanes [IV] na mga biktima ng human rights para magcomplain sa ICC? Wala. Sila ang pumunta doon.  Sariling effort nila 'yun,” he went on.

Dela Rosa, who earlier described himself as the "number two accused" in the drug war probe of the ICC, was then-President Duterte’s first Philippine National Police chief.

Duterte's drug war has been blamed for thousands of deaths, with government figures pegging it around 6,000 but human rights groups saying 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 pointed out that the local investigation can proceed even with the ongoing ICC investigation.

Last Tuesday, Marcos said the Philippines will be "disengaging from any contact, communication with the ICC."

In February, Marcos said he would not cooperate with the inquiry of the ICC into the abuses in the campaign against illegal drugs of the previous administration.—AOL, GMA Integrated News