MANILA - Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso will let investigators from the International Criminal Court into the country if he is elected president of the Philippines.
He also vowed not to cover up or protect incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte from the probe.
"I will not prevent anything. Rule of law will be observed under my watch. Why not? If there is nothing to hide. Anyway they’re just investigating. It doesn’t mean you’re guilty or not," he told ANC's Headstart on Friday.
The international tribunal's pre-trial chamber has allowed the ICC Prosecutor's request to proceed with its investigation of the drug war in the Philippines under Duterte's leadership and killings in Davao City when he was mayor and vice-mayor.
However, Malacañang has said that the President would not participate in the ICC probe and that investigators would not be permitted entry.
But Domagoso, who declared his presidential candidacy this week, said he would not prevent the proceedings from moving forward.
"For the sake of conversation, even though their findings, you still have to be prosecuted and hindi naman ibig sabihin you’re guilty also or not...wala namang mawawala. If we can gain also some level of respect from our neighboring countries and makita nila that we are certain about our rules, bakit naman hindi?" he said.
(For the sake of conversation, even though they will have their findings, you still have to be prosecuted and that won't mean you're guilty or not...There is nothing to lose. If we can gain some level of respect from our neighboring countries and they will see that we are certain about our rules, then why not?)
Domagoso said if elected, his job would be to "protect every citizen of this country," but that would not mean he would shield anyone from international scrutiny.
"But wala namang pagko-cover, hindi naman para proteksyunan. Rule of law will be observed. Every citizen can afford any provision of the Constitution as a matter of right. Kailangan certain tayo sa rules eh. But definitely, I will not lift a finger mag-cover or tumulong either way or magdiin, diinan or paghigantihan," he said.
(But there won't be any cover up, not to protect anyone. Rule of law will be observed. Every citizen can afford any provision of the Constitution as a matter of right. We have to be certain about our rules. But definitely, I will not lift a finger to cover or help either side or press unto anyone or exact revenge.)
The ICC's investigation will cover killings since Duterte assumed office in July 2016 until the Philippines' withdrawal from the Rome Statute on March 16, 2019. It will also look into killings in Davao City from November 1, 2011 to June 30, 2016, when Duterte served as mayor and vice mayor.
Despite the administration's refusal to cooperate, the families of drug war victims are expected to supply the ICC Prosecutor with evidence and testimonies.
Official government data stated that over 7,000 individuals were killed in drug operations since 2016, but human rights groups estimate that the number could be higher.