MANILA - The conviction of 3 police officers in the killing of teenager Kian delos Santos is not enough to stop the International Criminal Court's own investigation on suspected extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, a lawyer said Tuesday.
Gilbert Andres, one of the counsels of the Philippine Coalition for International Criminal Court, said all alleged extrajudicial killings must be investigated and prosecuted by the government for the ICC's own investigation on the Philippine war on drugs not to prosper, citing the complementarity rule.
"One will not suffice. The Kian Delos Santos case will not suffice. It should be all the recognized EJKs by the government as well as those which were not recognized by the government," he told ANC's Early Edition.
Delos Santos, then 17, was killed in an anti-narcotics operation after supposedly resisting arrest. His death sparked outrage as he was deemed a casualty in President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal drug war. Three police officers were found guilty of murdering him.
Andres, who argued before the Supreme Court for the non-government organization that lobbied for the signing of the Rome Statute, said their position was "that there is no investigation at all."
The presumption of regularity is "overturned" when drug suspects are killed in police operations because there was a violation of the right to life, he said. The manual of the Philippine National Police also provides that it shall investigate deaths during its legitimate operations.
"As we can see, there has been no official investigation of these killings in relation to police operations," he said.
"It should proceed to the Office of the Prosecutor, the national prosecution system of the Philippines and it will proceed to a complaint-affidavit against any police officer involved, but that has not really happened here in the Philippines," he added.
Another proof that there is no prosecution of these deaths is that there is very limited access to official government records, such as death certificates, medico legal reports, and police reports, which can be used for a possible complaint-affidavit against police officers, he said.
Andres' group is one of the petitioners against President Rodrigo Duterte's planned exit from the ICC, arguing that the move has no legal basis and was just a "whimsical and arbitrary" decision of the chief executive.
The Supreme Court has yet to decide on the matter, with just days before the withdrawal becomes effective on Sunday.
Duterte withdrew the Philippines' ratification of the Rome Statute after the ICC announced last year that it would begin its preliminary examination into charges of mass murder against him in connection with his controversial war on drugs.