Palace confident lawsuit vs Duterte in ICC won't prosper

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 12 2018 05:52 PM

MANILA - Malacanang is confident the crimes against humanity accusation against President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC) will not prosper.

The ICC has launched a preliminary examination into alleged human rights abuses committed under the Duterte administration's war on drugs.

"We know it will not proceed beyond preliminary examination," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.

Asked if he sees the ICC preliminary examination finished within the year, he said: "Good luck! Colombia has been under preliminary examination for 13 years. Thirteen years." 

Roque also brushed aside the fears expressed by complainant, Atty. Jude Sabio, over his safety after filing a communication against the President.

"We don't put much importance to the complaint. We have no ill will against him," he said. 

"Let's make sure that if there's a threat and [if there is] he should report it to the police. If there's a threat, go file a Writ of Amparo. That's the remedy," he added.

In his communication to the ICC, Sabio said Duterte "repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously" committed crimes against humanity and that under him, killing drug suspects and other criminals has become "best practice." 

It alleged that Duterte and at least 11 senior government officials are liable for murder, and called for an investigation, arrest warrants and a trial.

Sabio is the lawyer of Edgar Matobato, a man who has testified in the Senate that he was part of a hit squad that operated on Duterte's orders when he was mayor of Davao City.