If elected president next year, Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa would welcome members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the country, but only to observe the conduct of his administration’s campaign against the menace posed by illegal drugs.
But that’s as far as De la Rosa’s hospitality to the ICC would extend as he echoed the line of the Duterte administration that the ICC has not and cannot acquire jurisdiction over the country as it has a fully functioning judicial system.
De la Rosa on Tuesday said he would allow the ICC members to “observe” but not to investigate him and President Rodrigo Duterte after the latter steps down from power next year.
The standard-bearer of PDP Laban, with Senator Christopher “Bong” Go as vice-presidential running mate, De la Rosa recognized that he and Mr. Duterte had been tagged as targets of the ICC probe.
“For them (ICC) to come for an investigation? That’s a slap on our judicial system. It’s a slap on our Supreme Court. It’s a slap on our courts,” De la Rosa added.
President Duterte appointed De la Rosa as his first police chief. The top cop-turned-lawmaker led the police force from 2016 to 2018, during the height of the PNP’s “Oplan Tokhang,” alleged to have resulted to thousands of people killed.
The government has said that the fatality figures being cited by Amnesty International (AI) and the ICC from unverified news accounts were severely overblown to paint Duterte’s administration black.
Official government data showed that out of the 213,504 operations against illegal drugs from 1 July 2016 to 31 August 2021, 307,521 persons were arrested compared to the 6,191 deaths from the campaign.
De la Rosa also rejected claims that crimes against humanity were committed by the Duterte administration as he denied AI’s report on the alleged state-sponsored killings.
“Were there any crimes against humanity happening here in our country? Let’s not even go to the Amnesty report, because we know the people there are biased,” De la Rosa said.
While there have been police officers who abused their authority during anti-narcotics operations, he insisted they have been prosecuted by authorities. “We do not let them pass,” he said.
The Duterte administration stands pat on its position that the complaints against the government’s anti-drug campaign should be filed before the local courts. It also noted that it has already pulled out from the court’s sphere in 2019.
The ICC’s pre-trial chamber cited deaths logged from July 2016 to March 2019 — at a time when Duterte was president — as well as those arising from cases in November 2011 to June 2016 when Duterte was still Davao City mayor.
De la Rosa said he is committed to continuing Duterte’s war against illegal drugs should he win the presidency.
Meanwhile, De la Rosa also fired back at senatorial aspirant Raffy Tulfo, who, during a separate interview, described the drug campaign as a “failure.”
“Who are you to say that the drug war is a failure? Maybe those who are saying that the drug war is a failure are those who live in posh subdivisions which are very safe.”
Rights organizations have previously called out law enforcers for allegedly targeting the poor and marginalized while leaving the rich unscathed.
with Sundy Locus