President Duterte unfazed by Alejano’s ICC threat

DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte is unfazed by the threat of Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano that he would file a complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to remove him from office.

“Yeah, he can go ahead. He is free to do it. This is a democracy,” Duterte told reporters in a press conference on Tuesday upon his arrival from his official visits to Cambodia, Hong Kong and Beijing, China.

The President reminded that he was investigated by the Commission on Human Rights and the Department of Justice, when Senator Leila De Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte, headed those agencies.

These investigations on alleged extrajudicial killings supposedly perpetrated by the Davao Death Squad (DDS) failed to point to Duterte, who was then the mayor of Davao City.

Self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato and retired cop Arturo Lascanas linked Duterte to the DDS. A senate inquiry into Matobato’s accusation also failed to establish links between Duterte and the DDS.

“I was investigated again when she (De Lima) was the Justice secretary. Then I was investigated again by the Senate and I was investigated again by the House. Ano pa bang gusto nilang…(What do they want)? Duterte quipped.

Upon assuming the presidency last year, Duterte ordered an all-out war against illegal drugs nationwide.

Alejano sought the impeachment of the President for his state policy on illegal drugs, which resulted in a spate of summary executions and extrajudicial killings; his alleged links in the vigilante killings through the DDS; and his alleged PHP2.2 billion hidden wealth.

Alejano also filed a supplemental complaint regarding Duterte’s alleged failure to assert the country’s sovereign and maritime rights over disputed territories with China, including Benham Rise, Panatag Shoal and the rest of the West Philippine Sea.

On Monday, the House justice committee voted to reject the impeachment complaint Alejano filed against Duterte for insufficiency in substance.

While the justice panel found the impeachment complaint filed by Alejano sufficient in form, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon and Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro moved to declare the complaint “insufficient in substance,” which was approved with a total of 42 votes.

Alejano admitted that he has not witnessed the killings, but insisted that “he has personal knowledge based on authentic records from open sources, policy statements and media pronouncements of the President.” LCM/