DoJ rebuts ICC position to resume drug war probe

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla yesterday rebutted the call of International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan for the resumption of the drug war probe in the Philippines and his opposition to the government’s request to hold off the investigation.

In a hastily called press conference yesterday at the Department of Justice headquarters in Manila, Remulla said the country is no longer a member of the ICC and the justice system along with the law enforcement agencies are functioning very well.

He said the documents that the country sent to the ICC have been done out of courtesy.

“We are doing this out of comity and if they want to investigate us, being foreigners they should first acquire Filipino citizenship,” Remulla said.

Likewise, the justice chief said there is no need for the country to reply to the latest statement of Khan because as far as the country is concerned it is just being honest.

“Do they want to take over our country? As far as we are concerned we have a functioning judicial system, our prosecutors are very good,” Remulla said.

“We all act according to our justice system which is functioning as I have mentioned earlier and we are a sovereign country and we are protecting the rights of the people as enshrined in the Philippine Constitution’s Bill of rights,” he said.

Likewise, the justice chief expressed the hope that this matter will not be politicized.

“We are a democratic country and it’s not their country, we do things here according to the law even if we are just 88 days in office,” said the SoJ.

Remulla said they will continue with the inquiries and hope that witnesses will come forward so the investigation will prosper.

He said their problem really is the lack of evidence since many are hesitant to come forward as they fear for their lives.

Meanwhile, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra yesterday issued a clarification that the ICC has not rendered any decision yet on the Philippine government’s request not to proceed with the investigation.

“The ICC Pre-trial Chamber has not ruled on the Philippine government’s request to deny the ICC prosecutor’s motion to resume investigation of the Philippine situation. What was published recently was the ICC prosecutor’s response to the Philippine government’s position on the issue,” Guevarra, the justice secretary during ex-president Duterte’s incumbency, said in a message to reporters.

Guevarra though said that whatever the ICC’s ruling on the Philippines request, the government thru the Office of the Solicitor General, will pursue all available legal remedies.

“Regardless of the Pre-trial Chamber’s ruling, however, the Philippine government will avail itself of all legal remedies, both domestic and international, even as it vigorously pursues its own investigation and prosecution of crimes committed in relation to the government’s so-called war on drugs, all within the framework of our own legal and judicial system, ” Guevarra said.

Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, who headed the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs, meanwhile, said he is not afraid of the ICC not accepting the position of the Philippines.

He said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has already decided that the Philippines will not participate in the ICC probe.

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