Remulla to ICC: Why not probe drug cartels?

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2023 06:10 PM

DOJ secretary Boying Remulla. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
DOJ secretary Boying Remulla. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — A day after calling on the International Criminal Court not to “monkey around” the Philippines’ judicial system as it resumes its probe on the drug war killings in the country, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla on Tuesday urged the ICC to probe drug cartels instead.

“[K]ung talagang nais ng ICC na mag-imbestiga, bakit hindi nila imbestigahan yung mga drug cartel na sumisira sa ating bansa?,” he told reporters at the Department of Justice.

“Hanggang ngayon naman meron tayong silent drug war kasi itong mga cartel na ito sinisira pa rin ang buhay natin eh. Bakit hindi yun ang imbestigahan nila? Bakit hindi nila imbestigahan ang mga sindikato na nag ta-traffic ng mga bato at ng mga kababaihan?,” he asked.

An International Criminal Court pre-trial chamber recently authorized the resumption of the ICC Prosecutor’s probe on the drug war killings in the country, a ruling the Philippine government is appealing from.

It has until March 13 to submit its appeal brief, after the ICC Appeals Chamber granted its request for more time to file the appeal.

The Justice chief pushed back against what he considers “singling out” of certain personalities in the Philippines.

“Napakarami nilang pwedeng imbestigan sa karapatan ng mga taong bayan. Bakit sila kailangang isa-isahin o kaya sinu-sinuhin ang mga Pilipinong nakukursunodahan nila. Eh ang ICC para sa mga individual yan eh? Tayo we defend the individuals in our country… pinangangalagaan natin ang estado,” he said.

While no persons have been identified yet, the ICC Prosecutor is now in the process of identifying which personalities it will summon or issue subpoena to, as part of determining who are most responsible for the thousands of killings under the drug war.

This early, some lawmakers from both the House of Representatives and the Senate have already filed resolutions in defense of former President Rodrigo Duterte, who introduced the drug war.

The tough-talking president had repeatedly told cops to kill drug suspects if they resist arrest and if their lives are in danger.

Remulla said he has talked to the President about the ICC issue and they hope to convince the international tribunal, in the last pleading that it will file, that the justice system in the Philippines is working.

“Kami ay walong buwan pa lang rito at nais namin ipagpatuloy ang mga imbestigasyon at sana hindi ho ito sinisilo lang na pinupulitika tayo,” he said.

On Monday, Remulla accused the ICC of being a “political body” in commenting on the lawmakers’ move to defend Duterte, calling it a “natural” move.

“The ICC is a political body in many ways. It is not just a body for justice but it is meant to forward a political agenda for many people. Why do I say this? Because we are a country with a legal system that can function by itself and they want to take over some of our functions just to criticize the way we run our country before,” he said.

“Hindi ho tama ‘yan. Kaya ‘yung political agenda na ‘yan we will not bow down to that. Mahalaga talaga that we run our own justice system in our country,” he added.

He reiterated, the ICC has no means of coming into the country and conduct its probe.

“If the ICC insists on coming in, let me tell you this: there is no mechanism by which the ICC can come in because this was not contemplated in the drafting of the law of the treaty before we became a signatory for a few years, from which we withdrew from,” he said.

“There is no mechanism by which they can operate in our country. There is no accepted mechanism so how can they come in. Wala ako nakikitang paraan para pumasok sila rito,” he added. 

He warned ICC investigators against coming into the country.

“If they want to put into themselves the judicial powers of this country then they will be committing a violation of our legal system. Just a fair warning: do not monkey around with our legal system,” he said.


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