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Bato dela Rosa holding on Marcos’ ‘solid rock’ assurance that ICC probers won’t enter PH

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said Thursday he is holding on to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s  “solid as rock” assurance that the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigators will not be able to enter the Philippines.

In a virtual interview with reporters, Dela Rosa said the President made the assurance during a dinner he hosted for senators in Malacañang last November 28.

“Naniniwala ako sa Pangulo. Buo ang tiwala ko sa kanya sa sinabi niya sa akin about the ICC until now. Buong buo pa rin ang aking paniniwala sa kanya na hindi niya papapasukin ang ICC,” Dela Rosa said.

(I believe in the President. I still trust his assurance that he won't let ICC enter the Philippines.)

The lawmaker made the remark amid claims that the ICC investigators have already arrived in the country to start their probe into the previous administration’s anti-drug campaign.

Dela Rosa earlier tagged himself as the “number two accused” in the investigation as he was the chief of the Philippine National Police when the so-called drug war was implemented by former President Rodrigo Duterte.

The senator said he will verify and get confirmation on the claims that the ICC investigators have already arrived in the Philippines.

“If, indeed, totoo ‘yan na in-authorize ng gobyerno natin ‘yung pagpasok, and indeed totoo ‘yan na nakapasok na sila and if, indeed,  ‘yung pagpasok nila ay sanctioned by this government, authorized by this government, kaya nga masasabi ko na laban bawi ang gobyernong ito kapag ganon ang mangyari,” Dela Rosa said.

(If the government authorized the alleged ICC investigators' entry, I can only say that they are not true to their words.)

“Kung hindi man, well, talagang masasabi ko na solid as a rock ‘yung assurance na binigay sa akin ng Pangulo nu'ng kami ay nag-dinner doon sa Malacañang. Solid as a rock,” he added.

(If their alleged entry is not authorized, then I can say that the assurance given to me by the President during our dinner in Malacañang was solid as rock.)

Should the supposed entry of ICC investigators be found unauthorized by the Marcos administration, Dela Rosa said he will ask the Department of Justice to deport them immediately.

“I will ask the DOJ you do the right thing. That’s sobrang encroachment ‘yan sa ating sovereignty. Hindi sila in-authorize ng gobyerno natin then nandito sila nag-conduct ng investigation e para na tayong ginagago ng mga tao na 'yan. They should be declared as undesirable aliens by the Bureau of Immigration at once. Right away, i-declare sila,” he said.

(I will ask the DOJ to do the right thing. Unauthorized entry and conduct of investigation in the country is already an encroachment of sovereignty. They are making a fool out of us. They should be declared as undesirable aliens by the Bureau of Immigration at once.)

Meanwhile, a lawyer and an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) have asked a Samar court to prevent the entry of personalities connected to the ICC.

The respondents in the 12-page petition are “the International Criminal Court of Justice (ICCJ) of the United Nations,” represented by ICC prosecutor Karim Khan “or any designated prosecutor, or investigator, and its staff.”

The petitioners are Atty. Fernando Perito, who filed the petition as a member of the legal profession, and Joseph Forrosuelo, an overseas Filipino worker.

The two asked the Calbayog Regional Trial Court to issue a preliminary injunction that would bar all personnel, directors, or staff of the ICCJ from entering the country and prevent investigators and prosecutors from investigating the drug war.

They also asked the court to immediately deport these personalities and dub them as persona non grata.

In March last year, Dela Rosa disclosed that during the 2022 election campaign, then-presidential candidate Marcos promised him that the ICC will not be able to touch even a single strand of his hair.

An apparent change of tune in Marcos’ stance on the ICC investigation into the previous administration’s drug war floated when the President said in November last year that returning into the fold of the international tribunal is “under study” even though he maintained that there are “problems” on the issue of jurisdiction.

To recall, Marcos said in February last year that he would not cooperate with the ICC investigation into the alleged abuses under Duterte’s drug war.

The ICC Appeals Chamber had denied the Philippine government’s appeal to stop the ICC probe on the drug war  because the Philippines failed to prove to the ICC that a legitimate investigation on the drug war killings and the prosecution of the perpetrators were being undertaken by Philippine authorities.

Statistics vary depending on sources but according to Human Rights Watch, Duterte’s “war on drugs” resulted in the deaths of more than 12,000 Filipinos, mostly from the urban poor.—AOL, GMA Integrated News