PNP: Duterte, DILG approval needed if ICC seeks data

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 27 2018 01:43 PM

A police officer lists down names of suspected drug users and pushers at a processing center in Tondo, Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said it is willing to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it seeks records related to the drug war, but only if approved by President Rodrigo Duterte or the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. John Bulalacao said a “process” must be observed before ICC probers could gather data from the police in relation to charges filed against the President and other senior officials over alleged summary killings in the drug war.

“We will, provided there will be an approval from a higher office, in this case, the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) or Malacañang,” Bulalacao said in a Palace press briefing.

Such approval, however, may be unlikely as the President has already told police to ignore any investigation into his drug war.

“When it comes to human rights, or whoever rapporteur it is, my order to you: Do not answer. Do not bother,” Duterte said earlier this month.

“And who are you to interfere in the way I would run my country? You know very well that we are being swallowed by drugs.”

Duterte earlier said the Philippines was withdrawing from the ICC due to what he called "outrageous" attacks by United Nations officials and supposed violations of due process by the international court. 

This after the ICC said it would start a preliminary examination on a complaint against Duterte and other officials over alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines linked to the drug war.

The preliminary examination shall determine whether the ICC can take jurisdiction over the matter. Only after finding that it has jurisdiction can the ICC start its formal investigation, which may entail gathering data from law enforcement agencies involved in the drug war.

The ICC earlier this month said the Philippines' withdrawal from the Rome Statute, which established the international court, would not affect its preliminary examination into crimes allegedly committed in Duterte's anti-narcotics campaign.

Duterte and senior government officials, however, said the ICC should expect no cooperation from the Philippines.

The government has many times denied involvement in summary killings. 

The Philippines signed the Rome Statute on Dec. 28, 2000 and ratified and endorsed it in August 2011, during the time of Duterte’s predecessor, then President Benigno Aquino III.

The ICC is the first permanent institution having power to exercise jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression, and is seen to help end impunity among perpetrators of these crimes.