July 9, 2019
JUST 10 months from Duterte’s presidency, I personally filed that first communication with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in April 2017. At that time, he just had a fresh popular mandate. But we were undeterred.
Likewise, in February 2018, the ICC launched a preliminary examination in just four months before the end of Duterte’s second year. He retained then his mass appeal.
Mr. Duterte cannot take comfort in his latest Senate sweep. Even if politics is in his favor, the ICC case is not for politics, but for justice. As shown previously, the ICC will act for justice, notwithstanding Duterte’s popularity which is irrelevant to justice.
In fact, again despite such popularity, the latest international call for a United Nation’s probe into Duterte’s war on drugs is becoming stronger. More than two dozen countries are now supporting a resolution calling for such probe.
While the resolution is aimed at the UN, especially the UN Human Rights Council, to do a probe, there has been, since February 2018, a preliminary examination in the ICC which is a prelude to a further investigation.
Expectedly, the resolution is not aimed at the ICC, presumably because as a court, the ICC is independent and should be free from political pressures. A resolution, if aimed at the ICC, could end up as a weapon for critics falsely claiming that ICC is a tool of western powers.
However, it is unrealistic to completely divorce such call from the ongoing ICC preliminary examination. While the call is aimed at the UN, it indirectly sends a very strong signal to the ICC that a full-blown probe enjoys international backing.
Bad omen against Duterte