“Ano siya, hilo?”
This was the reply given by Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa Wednesday, when sought for his comment regarding International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan’s filed petition for the body to pursue its investigation on the drug war and Davao Death Squad killings in the Philippines.
Khan submitted to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber his 21-page report last September 22, in response to the 62-page report that the Philippine government filed before the ICC last September 8.
Dela Rosa, one of the personalities who is included in the charge sheet insisted, Khan’s arguments have no basis.
“Bakit siya mag-insist, di ba? Kayo mismo tanungin ko, you are witness to what is happening in this country. Meron ba tayong crimes against humanity na nangyayari dito? Wala naman. Bakit siya mag-insist? He is not a part of the Philippine government, he is not a part of the Philippine jurisdiction. Bakit siya nag-iinsist na makialam sa problema natin dito?” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa maintained the ICC cannot do anything if the Philippine government refuses to cooperate.
He also stressed his confidence that the ICC cannot touch him, with the Department of Justice asserting the country’s independence from such body.
“Mayroon ba silang (ICC) magagawa?... Ilang beses naman nang nai-reiterate yan eh. Not only of the Secretary of Justice, but the President himself ay nagsasabi na hindi na tayo magpa-member, balik sa ICC. So, kung hindi na tayo magpa-member, bakit pa tayo susunod sa kanilang kagustuhan?” the senator pointed out.
Still he said, ICC officials can enter the Philippines, but only as “tourists” and not as investigators.
And with such adamant stand already given by the Philippine government, what the ICC should do he said, is to let go.
“Walang patutunguhan yan. There’s a deadlock, kumbaga strategic stalemate. Paano sila magpu-pursue, paano sila magpatuloy sa kanilang gustong gawin, ano’ng magiging basehan nila? How can they conduct an impartial and true investigation kung hindi sila makapasok dito. So ano ang magiging basis nila sa pag-prosecute ng kaso if they really prosecute?” Dela Rosa noted.
“Let’s listen to the goverment on what the government is saying. If you want to enter into this country to meddle with our internal affairs, ibang usapan yan. Kung papasok kayo dito sa Pilipinas para maging turista, I think there’s no problem with that. Pero kung pumasok kayo dito para makialam sa aming problema, siguro we have sovereignty naman. Hindi naman tayo pakialaman basta basta ng tao diyan,” he added.
Asked if he will just continue to ignore the ICC issue, Dela Rosa said: “Dedma.”
Dela Rosa replied in jest "gusto mo ipakulong ako talaga ha?” when the idea of giving the prosecutors a free hand to investigate was raised during the interview.
“Huwag mo na kong ipasok sa kulungan. Gusto mo talaga akong ikulong. Eh ayaw na nga ng gobyerno natin eh, bakit maghanap ka pa ng option?” Dela Rosa coyly said.
“Kaya nga sinasabi ko, kung gusto nila pumasok dito as tourist.. na mag-obserba-obserba, eh di siguro walang problema. But kung papasok sila dito para mag-imbestiga, para mo nang pinagsisipa mo na yung ating DOJ dyan, parang pinagsasampal mo na yung ating mga judges natin dyan na parang hindi nagpa-function ang ating judicial system,” Dela Rosa insisted.
“The government has all the right to do, what it takes to protect our sovereignty. And sovereignty, and kasama na.. na protektahan ang ating sariling interes,” he said.