PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has insisted that he would not be tried by an international court over alleged human rights violations linked to his administration’s drug war.
In his speech during the government assembly on efforts to address the local armed communist conflict in Leyte on Thursday, Duterte said that he was not stupid to let the “animals” in the international court put him on trial.
“Mga ulol kayo. Pati ako i-demanda nila, ‘yong International Court of Justice dahil doon sa Hague, it’s in Europe (You’re crazy. They tried to sue me before the International Court of Justice based in the Hague, it’s in Europe),” Duterte said
“Ngayon, gusto nila ako magharap doon. Ano ako, gago (Now they want me to face trial there? Do you think I’m stupid)?” he added.
The President made the statement after the Supreme Court (SC) junked a petition seeking to nullify the country’s pullout from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2019.
The high tribunal decision recognized that the President is the primary architect of the country’s foreign policy.
The Philippines severed ties from the ICC after its special prosecutor Fatou Bensouda started a preliminary examination on the alleged human rights violations under the war on drugs in the country.
In Thursday’s remarks, Duterte once again refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the international court, saying he would only face trial in the country.
“Magharap ako ng korte na ang judge Pilipino (I will only face the court where the judge is a Filipino),” the President said.
“Hindi man ako magharap doon sa mga animal na ‘yan. Wala naman akong… Sabi ko, not in a million years (I will not face those animals. I said not in a million years),” he added.
Duterte, who is currently facing allegations of crimes against humanity in relation to the drug war, said the ICC only seemed to give importance to the rights of criminals and not their victims.
“Ang binabasa lang nitong mga p*t*ng*n*ng human rights, ang namatay na criminal. Yung pinatay nila, yung ni-rape nila…Yan ang problema sa human rights (Human rights groups only care about the rights of criminals who were killed. What about the victims they killed and raped? That’s the problem with human rights),” he said.
The President also warned drug suspects anew that they could either “drop the drugs or drop dead.”
“Galit na galit talaga ako sa droga. Do not destroy my country. Do not destroy our daughters and sons. Kung ayaw mong mamatay, drop. Bitawan mo ang shabu (I really hate drugs. Do not destroy my country. Do not destroy our daughters and son. If you don’t want to die, drop the shabu),” Duterte said.
“Kasi pag-abot natin kung magka-engkwentro tayo diyan sa corner, patay ka talaga. Ganyan ako katindi sa droga na iyan (Because if I catch you and engage in an encounter in a corner, you will really die. That’s how I hate drugs),” he added.
Duterte had launched an aggressive campaign against the illegal trade since the start of his term in 2016. The anti-drug crackdown however drew criticisms from groups here and abroad for the alleged extrajudicial killings and other abuses.
In December last year, Bensouda’s office released a report saying there was a “reasonable basis” to believe that Duterte and his subordinates committed crimes against humanity in the drug war.
Duterte has repeatedly defended his administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs, saying he was elected precisely to eliminate the narcotics trade as part of his campaign promise.