MANILA - Lawyer Jude Sabio was not paid by anyone to withdraw his communication against President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court, his colleague said Wednesday.
Sabio withdrew his communication because he "realized these were all political propaganda," according to lawyer Larry Gadon, a staunch supporter of the Duterte administration who facilitated Sabio's withdrawal.
Sabio’s announcement came months after his public falling-out with former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV over a billing dispute, claiming an unpaid billing of P700,000 for handling the cases of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato.
Gadon said Sabio was "left hanging" by Trillanes and other opposition personalities such as Sen. Leila de Lima and Vice President Leni Robredo who "created noise and controversies" against Duterte.
Sabio, under the employment of Trillanes, previously received some P50,000 to P100,000 per month, according to Gadon.
"How can he continue defending this case if he is not supported logistically by these people. Basically money because with the case filed in international court you cannot get these things for free. You have expenses," he told ANC's Early Edition.
"It’s not only about money, it's about his conviction also that he realized he was taken for granted. He was just used and exploited for this political propaganda. Na-realize niya na kaya hindi na siya sinuportahan logistically is because hindi naman pala totoo."
Gadon, meantime, denied allegations on social media that he paid Sabio to withdraw his communication.
"Ba't ko naman siya babayaran? Wala naman ako ibabayad sa kanya," he said.
"Wala, I will not allow it," he added when asked if anyone else paid Sabio to withdraw his case.
Gadon also denied that the President was involved in Sabio's withdrawal.
"Malacañang has nothing to do with this. President Duterte doesn’t even mind this case. He even withdrew our membership from the ICC," he said.
The Philippines formally withdrew from the ICC in 2018 after the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal launched a preliminary examination against alleged abuses in Duterte's drug war. The motion took effect in March last year.
The ICC said it was not possible to withdraw any communication filed with them because they have an obligation to register whatever information they receive.
The National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) said that even if Sabio withdraws his communication, which relied on the reports of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the ICC prosecutor could still access it.
"It has no impact on the preliminary examination itself. The withdrawal of one communication does not defeat the other," NUPL chairman Neri Colmenares said.