ICC case vs Pres. Duterte, 11 others ‘dustbin-bound’

MANILA — The criminal complaint filed against Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and 11 senior government officials before the International Criminal Court (ICC) is dustbin bound, Sen. Paniflo Lacson said Tuesday describing the witnesses as “perjured.”

“ICC case vs. PRRD, et al is dustbin bound if two perjured witnesses, Lascañas and Matobato are the only ones testifying,” Lacson said in his official Twitter account.

Retired cop Arturo Lascañas and self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato have both claimed in previous Senate hearings that the so-called vigilante group Davao Death Squad (DDS) was real and that it was led by Pres. Duterte himself.

In a text message to reporters, Lacson, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, said that two requirements should first be met before the complaint is filed.

The first requirement is that national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute Pres. Duterte and the others accused or when the UN Security Council or individual states refers the case to the ICC.

Otherwise, Lacson said the case was as good as without merit because they came from “polluted sources and perjured witnesses.”

Moreover, he said that it seemed like the goal of filing the case was to embarrass the president which Lacson said was “one of the most unpatriotic acts” and “the worst disservice that one can do to his country.”

He said people who would want to see the ICC to take jurisdiction over the case would most likely be disappointed.

To recall, a 77-page complaint was filed by the lawyer of Matobato against Pres. Duterte and 11 senior government officials before the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Netherlands on Monday.

Matobato’s lawyer, Jude Sabio, filed a criminal case for crimes against humanity noting that Pres. Duterte allegedly violated the Articles of the Rome Statute through commission of mass murder or extrajudicial executions during his term as Davao City mayor and now President of the Philippines through his aggressive campaign against illegal drugs.

Reports showed thousands of drug suspects in Davao City and nationwide have been killed in the administration’s drug campaign.

“A number of local and international human rights groups and other international bodies have called the attention of our government to stop the bloody killings in the country in the name of war against drugs. However, President Duterte has completely ignored these calls, while his government officials and allies have become instruments in covering up the issue in the media and Senate investigations conducted,” Sabio said in filing the complaint.

“It is for these reasons that I have referred this case to the ICC to make President Duterte accountable for his crimes in the name of international criminal justice, and to once and for all end this dark, obscene, murderous and evil era in the Philippines,” he added.

Sabio, in his complaint, cited the similarities in the drug war when Duterte was mayor and now as president including police participation, element of hitman, reward system for killing, reward in cash, a kill list, among others.

“The basic material hallmarks or elements in the extra-judicial executions in the Davao Death Squad in Davao City and in the continued extra-judicial executions after President Duterte became the President are too numerous and too obvious to escape scant attention: First, there is the element of police participation and command; Second, there is the element of a hitman or an unknown armed assailant; Third, there is a reward system for every killing; Fourth, there is a reward in cash; Fifth, there is a kill watch list; Sixth, there is collaboration between barangay and police officials; Seventh, there is the cardboard sign and the face/body wrapped in packing tape; Eighth, there is the use of “riding in tandem” motorcycle-riding assailants; Ninth, there is the use of hooded or masked assailants; Tenth, there is the planting of a gun and drugs,” Sabio said in his complaint.

Sabio said that with the case filed, the Office of the Prosecutor is set to determine whether the case is within the jurisdiction of the ICC and if it is proper to file criminal charges against the accused, before investigating the case and issuing Warrant of Arrest against them.

Aside from Duterte, also charged for violating different provisions of the Rome Statute, to wit: Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre; Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa; Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of the House of Representatives; Former Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno; Police Superintendent Edilberto Leonardo; Senior Police Officer 4 Sanson “Sonny” Buenaventura; Police Supt. Royina Garma; National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran; Solicitor General Jose Calida; Senator Richard Gordon and Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano.

The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the ICC, the first permanent international court that is capable of trying perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression, the Statute’s four core international crimes. The Philippines is a state party to the Rome Statute, together with other 123 state parties, after ratifying it in August 2011. Azer Parrocha/PNA-northboundasia.com