Palace shuns possible raps against Duterte when he steps down

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 21 2019 04:28 PM | Updated as of Oct 21 2019 04:29 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte. Presidential Photo/file

MANILA- Malacañang shunned Monday possible charges that President Rodrigo Duterte might face once he steps down from office in 2022.

Duterte's spokesman Salvador Panelo said the chief executive is only concerned about his work after the National Union of People's Lawyers threatened to sue the President once he steps down.

"The only worry that the President has is the sufferings of the people that’s why he does a lot of things to make lives comfortable for them," Panelo told reporters.

Should the NUPL push through with its threat, Panelo said the Palace would leave it to the courts to decide.

"It’s a free country. Everyone is entitled to file any case against whom they think has violated the law...Let the courts decide the validity of such complaints," he said.

NUPL Chairman Neri Colmenares over the weekend said the organization is already preparing complaints that would be filed against Duterte in 2022. 

Colmenares also warned Duterte that he could not escape his supposed criminal liability.

“The justice system in the Philippines is unable to provide legal remedies to victims of EJK (extrajudicial killings) and other human rights violations because as Presidennt Duterte claims, he is immune from suit," Colmenares said.

"We have one message to President Duterte and his police and military—we will stand our ground, we will continue to run after the perpetrators of human rights violations and we will file criminal cases against President Duterte in 2022,” NUPL Secretary General Rey Cortez added.

Duterte has faced local and international criticism over his bloody narcotics crackdown which began at the start of his presidency 3 years ago.

Police have said more than 6,000 drug suspects were killed in police anti-drug operations from July 2016, when Duterte became President, until the end of May this year. 

But activists say that at least 27,000 have been killed since Duterte was elected on a platform of crushing crime and eradicating corruption.