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‘No ICC case to begin with’

Panelo said that despite the insistence of the ICC that it has jurisdiction over the Philippines as a State Party, the incontrovertible fact remains that the ICC never acquired jurisdiction over our country.

Francis Wakefield

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Wake up from your stupor.

This was how Chief presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesperson Salvador Panelo wanted to address those he called as detractors who filed a case against President Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Panelo said the ICC should realize by now that it is being used by disgruntled and discredited persons to advance their goal of “besmirching the reputation of the President and achieving their impossible dream of bringing down his presidency.”

He made this remark after the lawyer who sued President Duterte before the ICC executed on Tuesday his withdrawal of an affidavit that charged the Chief Executive of crimes against humanity.

The complaint was filed in August 2018 by the relatives of those allegedly slain due to all-out war against drugs by the Duterte administration.

In a statement, Panelo said that despite the insistence of the ICC that it has jurisdiction over the Philippines as a State Party, the incontrovertible fact remains that the ICC never acquired jurisdiction over our country.

This, Panelo reiterated, was for the simple reason that the Rome Statute that created the ICC was never clothed with legal enforceability in our jurisdiction because it lacked the legal requirement of publication, the operative act that should have given birth to its enforceability over the Philippines.

He added that the ICC should recognize the unalterable legal fact that it has no jurisdiction over the President, and for that matter, the Philippines.

Panelo noted that if the ICC continues to accept communications from entities and persons relative to complaints on human rights against President Duterte, it will only demonstrate its continuing ignorance of the very source of its being.

Detractors connive
Panelo said one of the communications it has received “came from a certain lawyer by the name of Jude Sabio.”

According to him, it appears that Sabio was tapped by the former renegade rebel turned senator, Antonio Trillanes IV, to file the complaint against PRRD.

“The professional tie between the two has since turned sour owing to Trillanes’ alleged failure to pay Sabio’s professional fees leading to the latter’s withdrawal of his complaint before the ICC,” Panelo said.

“Sabio claims he has withdrawn his complaint because he didn’t want to be a part of the political propaganda of Trillanes and the Liberal Party,” he added.

Panelo noted the complaint against President Duterte, orchestrated by Trillanes, is part of the vilification campaign relentlessly pursued by detractors as well as the political opposition totally repudiated by the electorate.

“Trillanes must be squirming in his disgraced retirement by Sabio’s turnabout. Lies can only be sustained for some time. When conscience haunts and torments the peddler, it melts by the heat of truth,” Panelo said.

“Slowly but surely, the destabilizers of the Duterte administration are being undressed. Their obnoxious smell like ashfall pollute the air,” he added.

Sabio was assisted by fellow lawyer Larry Gadon when he executed withdrawal of an affidavit before a notary public in Quezon City.

Gadon said the document will be sent to the ICC anytime soon.

A portion of the affidavit stated: “I would be given a pittance when they needed me for the political propaganda, and then later I would be told that there was no more budget due to financial constraints.”

“It was a pattern that was all too obvious to me, which made me so skeptical about their engagement of me for alias Bikoy,” it added.

Sabio earlier revealed that it was Trillanes who was behind the so-called “Totoong Narcolist” videos narrated by Peter Joel Advincula alias Bikoy, who tagged the president’s children as involved in the illegal drugs business.

“Madam prosecutor, in light of all these and under the circumstances obtaining, I am left with no choice but to formally withdraw from your office the communication that I filed way back on 24 April 2017,” a portion of the affidavit read.

“I fervently request that it be expunged or erased from the invite record and that it should not be used in any way in the ongoing preliminary examination. I also fervently request that the legal matter pending with your office in relation to the war on drugs in the Philippines should be set aside and thrashed for being just a part of the political propaganda of Senator Trillanes, Senator [Leila] de Lima and their LP-led opposition of which I do not wish to be a part,” it added.

Sabio was one of Trillanes’ closest allies in the anti-Duterte campaign. He was the lawyer of Edgar Matobato, the self-confessed hitman in the Davao Death Squad when the President was still Davao City Mayor.

 

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