Arroyo to House: Defend Duterte against ICC

Former president and now deputy House speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Former president and now House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is urging her colleagues in the House of Representatives to “hold the line” in defending former President Rodrigo Duterte against supposed threats from the International Criminal Court.

In a statement on Wednesday, Arroyo called on lawmakers to declare “unequivocal defense” for the country’s 16th President, who ended his six-year term with consistently high approval and trust ratings.

Arroyo made the call by filing House Resolution No. 780 entitled “A Resolution In Defense of former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines Against Investigation And/Or Prosecution of the International Criminal Court.”

In the House resolution, Arroyo stressed that the Philippines “has a functioning and independent judicial system” and that the country has since withdrawn its membership from the ICC.

She said that when Duterte took office, “the widespread, serious and rampant illegal drugs problem has already infected every nook and corner of the country.”

Duterte, she added, was “convinced that fighting illegal drugs, along with corruption and other crimes, is a prerequisite for achieving genuine growth and prosperity.”

Last month, the ICC authorized the reopening of the probe into the Duterte administration’s war on drugs to investigate possible human rights abuses and crimes against humanity committed during the implementation of the program.

In March 2019, the Philippine government officially withdrew from the ICC after the Hague-based court launched a preliminary examination of the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla had earlier said the ICC lacks jurisdiction to conduct a probe into the previous administration’s anti-narcotics drive.

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