DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Malacañang scored the complaint against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte filed before the International Criminal Court, saying it is meant to embarrass and shame the country’s chief executive as it prepares to host a meeting of regional leaders this week.
“The intent of this filing in ICC is clearly to embarrass and shame the President, and undermine the duly constituted government of the Philippines. It is a cynical effort against the reform-oriented agenda of the Duterte Administration and of the betterment of the lives of the Filipino people,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement sent to media on Monday.
The President’s spokesperson also questioned the timing of the filing of a complaint, saying it meant “to create negative news in the midst of the Philippines ASEAN debut.”
Abella pointed out that complaint lodged at ICC wont prosper because Atty. Jude Josue Sabio, lawyer of Mr. Edgardo Matobato, had not yet exhausted all the legal remedies in the Philippines.
“International Criminal Court rules provide that the ICC, as a court of last resort, will only exercise jurisdiction over a case once legal remedies in the Philippines have been exhausted,” he said.
“Furthermore, an independent Senate investigated the charges hurled against the President with self-confessed hitman Mr. Batobato as star witness. As such, there is no unwillingness or inability on the part of the State to investigate and prosecute the President,” he added.
Earlier, Sabio filed a 78-page complaint at the ICC of which he accused the President of “mass murder.” He said that the government did not do its part on the inquiry that sought to probe the liability of the Duterte administration including other senior government officials. Sabio is confident that his complaint will be admitted at the ICC, invoking Article 17 of the Rome Statute.
But Abella pointed out that spate of extrajudicial killings in the country are “not state-sanctioned or state-sponsored. Police authorities are conducting legitimate operations that require observance of operational protocols and those who breach procedures are made to answer before the law.”
“The Philippine National Police (PNP) has an Internal Affairs Service (IAS) tasked to probe police accused of violating procedures. This body can suspend or dismiss PNP personnel based on violations incurred and can recommend the filing of criminal charges,” he added. (davaotoday.com)