Tough-talking President says not afraid to go to jail
MANILA (UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday downplayed a communication sent by a lawyer to the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing him of committing crimes against humanity in pursuit of his brutal war on drugs.
“Let them be. Nobody can stop them from filing,” Duterte told reporters on the sidelines of a joint presser with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, who is in Manila on a state visit.
Still, the tough-talking President said he is not scared of prison.
"If I go to prison, so be it," he said.
Duterte said he would not waste his time reading the 77-page complaint filed before the ICC by Jude Sabio, lawyer of self-confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato who had tagged him in vigilante-style slays during his time as Davao City Mayor.
Asked whether the ICC may have have jurisdiction over him, Duterte, once a prosecutor, said: “The fundamental thing in our Revised Penal Code is territoriality. You can only be prosecuted in the country where you committed the crime.”
Created in 1998 through the United Nations treaty called the Rome Statute, the ICC has jurisdiction over 124 of its members, including the Philippines, which became a signatory 16 years ago.
Duterte is the first Philippine President to face a complaint before the international tribunal.
In his complaint, Sabio accused Duterte and 11 government and police officials of committing crimes against humanity for the spate of deaths under the administration's drug war.
The complaint cited testimonies from Matobato, another self-confessed DDS assassin Arthur Lascañas, and various reports from human rights groups and media organizations.
Matobato and Lascanas earlier tagged the President in DDS murders, reportedly carried out during his years as Davao City Mayor.