Atty. Jude Sabio’s withdrawal of his affidavit that charged President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity is a sucker punch to the ICC and all the human rights groups that have been deceived by perpetrators of unreliable, fabricated and tainted information, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.
He made the remark after Sabio on Tuesday executed a withdrawal of an affidavit before a notary public in Quezon City.
He was assisted by fellow lawyer Larry Gadon.
For his part, former Philippine National Police Chief and now Senator Ronald Dela Rosa described the withdrawal as “(the) anti-administration throwing a bomb at the government (which) exploded right in their faces.”
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.
It focuses on the alleged extrajudicial killings (EJK) committed by Duterte since he was the mayor of Davao City through his death squad.
Andanar said they anticipated this development from the very beginning and that Sabio would eventually back down.
“The allegations against President Duterte and his administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign through a communication submitted by Atty. Jude Sabio to the International Criminal Court has been proven to be baseless and unfounded,” the Palace official said.
“It has revealed itself for what it truly is, which is nothing more than political propaganda of oppositionists against this administration.
“With this, we decry these oppositionists’ overt and covert actions aimed at undermining President Duterte and this administration’s effective campaign against criminality and illegal drugs,” he added.
Andanar, in the same press statement, again maintained that the Duterte administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign has and always will respect due process and the rule of law in order to promote everyone’s human rights while eliminating the proliferation of illegal drugs.
He added that this government has never and will never condone EJK perpetrated by rogue cops and paid vigilantes, and continues to better our law enforcement agencies.
“Let’s all keep in mind that truth will continue to prevail. And know that despite malicious muckraking, this government will continue President Duterte’s programs and campaigns against criminality and illegal drugs as part of this administration’s legacy of peace and order and public safety,” Andanar said.
Despite the withdrawal, the ICC has announced that the withdrawal of Sabio’s communication will not affect the ongoing preliminary examination on the case.
The international body said in a report that the document, which Gadon will be sent to the ICC anytime soon, is only among “a wide range of reliable sources” it has at its disposal.
Meanwhile, Chief presidential Legal Counsel and Spokesperson Salvador Panelo previously urged the ICC to wake up from its stupor, if not ignorance, saying it should realize by now that it is being used by disgruntled and discredited persons to advance their goal of besmirching the reputation of President Duterte in efforts to bring down his presidency.
“That it continues to accept communications from entities and persons relative to complaints on human rights against Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte only demonstrates its continuing ignorance of the very source of its being,” Panelo said.
Only portions of Sabio’s affidavit were shared to the media.
Part of it states: “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.”
Sabio earlier revealed that it was Trillanes who was behind the so-called “Totoong Narcolist” videos narrated by Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy, who tagged the president’s children as involved in in the illegal drugs business.
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.
“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.”
“I fervently request that it be expunged or erased from the record, and that it should not be used in any way in the ongoing preliminary examination.”
with Hananeel Bordey