MANILA — I am ready.
Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said this Friday after the International Criminal Court said it would resume its investigation into the brutal drug war of President Rodrigo Duterte, which he led when he was the country's top cop.
"I have no more fears. You can go ahead whatever you want. I am ready. Whatever happens, my life, my future is dependent to the decision of this government," he told ANC's "Headstart".
Dela Rosa said he expected the Hague-based court to proceed with its inquiry.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan asked the tribunal to restart the inquiry last year, saying the Philippines failed to substantiate its claim that its justice system "generally functions well" and administrative proceedings "may or can" result in criminal proceedings.
"If the Philippine government would cooperate, then I am a part of the Philippine government, so I will cooperate," the senator said.
Should the ICC pre-trial chamber issues summons or warrants of arrest, Dela Rosa said he would accept them.
"Kung magkakaroon ako ng warrant, sabihin ng Philippine government, 'Okay, i-surrender natin si Bato dun sa International Criminal Court. Ipakulong natin ito sa The Hague.' Anong magagawa ko? That's the government's decision," he said.
"Kahit na magtatago ka, if you are wanted by the Philippine government, there's no way you can hide. Kilalang-kilala ako kaya hindi ako puwede makapagtago," he added.
In a statement Thursday, the ICC said its pre-trial chamber "is not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant investigations that would warrant a deferral of the court's investigations".
"The various domestic initiatives and proceedings, assessed collectively, do not amount to tangible, concrete and progressive investigative steps," it added.
Duterte pulled the Philippines out of ICC in 2019 after it began a preliminary probe into the drug crackdown, followed by the launch of a formal inquiry later that year.
But the probe was suspended in November 2019 after Manila said it was re-examining several hundred cases of drug operations that led to deaths at the hands of police, hitmen and vigilantes.
Officially, 6,181 people were killed in Duterte's "war on drugs" but rights group say that up to 30,000 may have been killed, some innocent victims, and that corruption was rife among security forces that acted with impunity.
— With a report from Agence France-Presse