Drugs war beyond personalities — Guevarra

‘Many of them are keeping silent on the 6,000 cases, thus there is a need for everybody to help gain good results’

September 14, 2022

The government’s premier lawyer said the issue of the war on drugs of former president Rodrigo Duterte is well beyond the personalities involved.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, the so-called Tribune of the Philippine Republic, made the remarks as various groups insist the investigation being asked by the International Criminal Court should be allowed even if the country is no longer a member of the Rome Statute.

Guevarra, a former justice secretary during the helm of Duterte, said he is no longer focusing on the personalities as a solicitor general since his office is considered the counsel of the Republic.

“The issue is well beyond the personalities involved as it is about the issue of whether or not the country’s existing legal and judicial system is capable of performing its duties to the people,” he explained.

The SolGen reiterated this in his latest television interview, saying that if the ICC said, “we have jurisdiction and stop what you’re doing or we’ll come in or something to that effect. That is in effect, an indictment which is very embarrassing to all of us.”

Guevarra added: “That’s an indictment against all Filipino people that you have a justice system that sucks. Your legal and judicial system is worthless that is why we have to go and investigate. That’s how I look at it. It’s beyond the people involved.”

However, Guevarra brushed aside the possibility saying the country’s “domestic mechanisms and institutions” are working and finding ways to bring justice to the victims’ families.

He said the domestic mechanisms and institutions of the country is doing their job so they can bring people responsible to justice, but said it is not only the government who will do it as they need the help of the affected families and witnesses.

“Many of them are keeping silent on the 6,000 cases, thus there is a need for everybody to help gain good results,” Guevarra said.

The country’s rejection of the ICC’s investigation into the war on drugs of the Duterte administration goes beyond the personalities involved, but highlights the preservation of the integrity of the country’s legal and judicial system.

In his latest interview on television, Guevarra was asked what is at stake with the Philippines’ rejection of the ICC investigation.

The government has earlier called on the ICC not to resume its investigation into the Duterte administration›s deadly drug war, insisting the tribunal has no jurisdiction.

It came on the day of ICC prosecutor Karim Khan›s deadline for Manila to respond to his request to restart the probe into the anti-narcotics campaign that killed thousands of people.

In an earlier statement from the Office of the Solicitor General, the alleged murders did not amount to “crimes against humanity” and were being handled by the country’s “proper agencies.”

As of December 2021 there are 6,000 drug suspects who have been killed in the drug war, as per the data of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, though some human rights advocates said the figures are higher.

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