Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, a presidential aspirant, on Wednesday vowed to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) probe on the administration’s controversial war on drugs if he gets elected in the May 2022 Elections.
While he personally believes that the investigation “has no basis,” De la Rosa said he will prod the international court for “transparency”.
“It is my duty, my right to protect myself. But then again for transparency reasons, I will tell them to go ahead and investigate,” the Senator said in a television interview.
“So, they would see the truth that they are merely deceiving themselves, or of other Filipinos who are making false reports,” he added.
In September, a pre-trial chamber of the ICC gave the office of then-Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda the green light to open an official investigation on the country’s anti-illegal drug campaign.
The 41-page decision mentioned President Duterte and De la Rosa due to their public statements that allegedly incited or encouraged the killing of drug suspects.
Number of deaths
It was claimed that at least 30,000 individuals have been killed in the drug war while the death toll from the Philippine National Police showed over 6,000.
Malacañang has stood firm that it will not cooperate with the investigation and said that the international court has no jurisdiction over the Philippines after it withdrew from the Rome Statute on 17 March 2019.
ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan, however, said they still have the authority to probe the alleged crimes against humanity conducted in the country while it was still a state party from 1 November 2011 to 16 March 2019.
The Supreme Court agreed with the ICC and obliged the Palace to coordinate with the probe.
De la Rosa, meanwhile, said earlier that he would rather be “tried, convicted, and even hanged” by a local court instead of facing the ICC.
‘Slap in the face’
Asked if he would reinstate the membership of the Philippines in ICC if he becomes president, the Senator rejected the idea and said that it would be a “slap in the face” of President Duterte.
He then insisted that the country has “functioning” courts and it doesn’t need to be part of ICC.
“Why would I? That would be like picking a stone and hammering it against my head,” De la Rosa said.
“Look at other great nations, are they members? No. Because they don’t want to be enslaved by the Europeans… They know that the EU body will try to exert supremacy over other countries,” he said.
De la Rosa will run with his vice-presidential tandem Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go under President Duterte’s faction inside the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan.