Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Tuesday welcomed the declaration by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that the Philippines will not rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“Obviously, I must admit it, being the number two accused, I am happy,” Dela Rosa said in an interview.
Marcos said on Monday that the Philippines has no intention of rejoining the Hague-based court, which earlier asked the Philippine government to provide comments on its request to reopen its investigation into the anti-drug war campaign of the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte.
Dela Rosa served as the head of the Philippine National Police in 2016, and led the anti-narcotics campaign of the Duterte administration — the controversial “Oplan Tokhang.”
Now a senator, Dela Rosa said he does not see the necessity of rejoining the ICC; other countries like the United States, Russia and China are also not members of the ICC, he noted. “If the US, Russia, China, Israel and other countries had refused to join the ICC, I don’t see any compelling reason to rejoin, and allow them to interfere in our internal affairs,” he said.
Allowing the investigation of the international body is “tantamount to surrendering” the country’s sovereignty, according to the police-turned-lawmaker.
He reiterated that he would not cooperate with the investigation of the ICC and would submit himself only to a Filipino court.
“Why would I hand my future to these white and black men who do not know anything but only the biased [information] presented by [Antonio] Trillanes and company?”, said Dela Rosa. “The truth will come out, but not before them — before a Filipino court. Right here and now, they can sentence me to death for as long as the order will come from a court in the Philippines.”
Based on government data, nearly 7,000 people were killed under the Duterte administration’s bloody war on illegal drugs, most of them from poor families. However, both local and international human rights organizations believe that the drug war had claimed more lives than the official figures suggest.
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