MANILA (UPDATE)—Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said he is holding on to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.'s "promise" that he will not be arrested in connection with the probe of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“May mga free time kami at napag-uusapan namin [Marcos and Dela Rosa] yan. Sabi nya, kuwan, ‘kahit isang buhok mo, hindi mahahawakan ng ICC.' Kahit daw wala akong buhok ha?” a giggling Dela Rosa said.
During his stint as Chief of the Philippine National Police, Dela Rosa spearheaded the bloody ‘war on drugs’ of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
Dela Rosa admitted that he already requested his colleague Sen. Francis Tolentino to be his legal counsel in the event that the ICC probe becomes a full-blown case.
But Dela Rosa added that he is confident that the complaint before the ICC will not succeed to the point of him getting arrested.
He and fellow Senator Robin Padilla on Thursday said they are both looking forward to a possible face-off with ICC officials in relation to the Duterte administration’s bloody drug war.
But the venue for the possible confrontation is not in The Netherlands but at the Philippine Senate's justice and human rights panel, which is poised to investigate the war on drugs issue “in defense of” Duterte.
“Maganda yan pero importante rin na malaman ng taumbayan na yung kanilang Senado ay sumusuporta sa dating pangulong Duterte... Magkakaroon kami ng reso expressing the sense of the Senate, maganda yun,” Dela Rosa said.
The end goal of such a resolution, according to Dela Rosa, is to defend Duterte against allegations that he ordered the killing of innocent civilians in his government’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Padilla in a separate interview said he wants to confront ICC officials over their supposed "desire" to jail Duterte.
“Kasi kailangan nang once and for all mapag-usapan nang harapan, bakit ba tayo pinakikialaman nitong ICC? At ang sarap itanong sa kanila eh, sino ba ang nagrereklamo sa inyo? Hindi ko alam bakit iring-iri kayo na ipakulong yung presidente na pinaka-well-loved ng mga Pilipino,” Padilla said.
Dela Rosa is being identified as the main implementor of Duterte’s drug war, while Padilla is an ardent supporter of the former president.
Duterte remains unperturbed by the developments in the International Criminal Court’s “drug war” investigation, Dela Rosa said.
“Wala man everytime mag-usap kami tungkol sa ICC sabihin nya sa akin, huwag kang maniwala dyan (ICC),” was Duterte’s supposed advice to Dela Rosa when it comes to the ICC’s investigation.
Dela Rosa said the former president remains cool on the matter, and would even want to land in jail for that.
“Gusto nga niyang magpakulong eh,” he said.
Dela Rosa said he personally wants ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan, former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, and their other accusers to attend the Senate hearing so he can grill them.
"You want to show to the world that you are above us as a sovereign country? 'Yan itanong ko sa kanila?” Dela Rosa said.
Padilla is also looking forward to grilling ICC officials.
“Parang sinasabi nito na tayo ay una, mga engot. Tayong mga Pilipino ay engot dahill hindi natin alam na 'yung gobyerno natin hindi tumatakbo nang tama," Padilla said.
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