Palace says drug war deaths already getting speedy probe

Malacañang on Tuesday maintained that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s decision not to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC) is an “issue of sovereignty.”

In a press briefing in Malacañang, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz Angeles assured that the cases of the 6,252 individuals who were killed during drug war operations in the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte are being speedily investigated by the government.

“Complaints about those who died during the drug war are being investigated, so there is no need to respond to the ICC or for our country to return to the Rome Statute,” Angeles said.

She stressed that the country’s legal institutions are capable of bringing justice to the families of drug war victims.

“Speedy trials are part of our process, especially in criminal cases, so the President does not need to issue a directive. That is part of the justice system,” she said.

On Monday, Marcos announced that the Philippines will not rejoin the ICC amid the tribunal’s continuing investigation into the Duterte administration’s six-year war on drugs.

“We held a meeting because of the talk that the investigation will continue. But as we maintain, we have our own investigation and it’s continuing, so why have a different one?” Marcos said in an interview with reporters in Pasig City.

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 declared that the ICC lacks jurisdiction to conduct a probe into the previous administration’s anti-narcotics drive.

A panel led by the Department of Justice reviewed the 5,655 anti-drug operations that resulted in deaths to determine whether to file charges against the police officers involved. Remulla said the review is still ongoing.

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