Duterte won't allow foreign prosecutor to exercise jurisdiction over him: Roque

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2022 09:38 AM | Updated as of Aug 02 2022 10:18 AM

MANILA - Former President Rodrigo Duterte will not allow a foreign prosecutor to exercise jurisdiction over him, one of his counsels said Tuesday.

Former presidential spokesperson, lawyer Harry Roque said he met with Duterte Monday night along with former executive secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra among others at the Rizal Park Hotel.

"He (Duterte) has made his position very clear: Now that he is no longer president, he no longer has immunity from suit. All those who have grievances or complaints against him should file a criminal case before a Philippine prosecutor. If there's probable cause, he’s willing face them but before a Philippine court," Roque told ANC's Headstart.

"If he’s found guilty of violating Philippine International Humanitarian Law which states the crimes punishable under ICC (International Criminal Court) then he will face the consequences and will face time in a Philippine jail. Under no circumstance will he allow a foreign prosecutor, any foreign judge, court to exercise jurisdiction over him."

Should the ICC continue to insist jurisdiction, Roque said Duterte will seek a restraining order from the Philippine courts.

"He will go to Philippine courts for a restraining order, to restrain the Philippine police from serving warrant of arrest against him," he said.

"He will argue the Philippine courts are willing and able to prosecute these cases and therefore there’s no basis for foreign institutions to interfere and these are the consequences of a foreign country."

The ICC Prosecutor's investigation will cover killings under the drug war since Duterte assumed office in July 2016 until the Philippines' withdrawal from the Rome Statute on March 16, 2019. It would also look into the killings in Davao City from Nov. 1, 2011 to June 30, 2016, when Duterte served as mayor and vice mayor.

More than 6,000 people have been killed under Duterte's anti-narcotics campaign based on police data but human rights groups claim it could go up to "a high of 30,000."

The ICC can only exercise jurisdiction over a nation when its justice system is unable or unwilling to investigate, Roque reiterated.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr last week convened his top legal officials to discuss the ICC probe and recently said government has no plans to rejoin the international body.

Roque had also claimed Marcos has him on retainer as a private legal counsel.

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