'I did it not for me': Duterte says he waged war on drugs 'for the Filipino'

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2021 09:15 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte presides over a meeting at the Malacañang Palace on Nov. 29, 2021. King Rodriguez, Presidential Photo/File 
President Rodrigo Duterte presides over a meeting at the Malacañang Palace on Nov. 29, 2021. King Rodriguez, Presidential Photo/File 

 

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he waged war on narcotics, leaving thousands dead and drawing scrutiny from the International Criminal Court, "not for me", but "for the Filipino." 
 
In a speech before the anti-insurgency task force in Zamboanga City, Duterte said the ICC wanted to "jail" him. He told the court, "F*** you." 

"I am a Filipino, I did it not for me. I never claimed credit or said that I am doing this for me and my family. Killing? Anong makukuha ko sa killing? Why? Would it benefit my pocket?" the President said. 

(What will I get from killing?)

"Would it improve my quality of life, na pagkatapos kong pagka-Presidente? Ayoko na lang magsalita, but ginawa ko ‘tong lahat para sa Pilipino... Ginawa ko kasi trabaho ko. I promised it," he added. 

(Would it improve my quality of life, after my presidency? I don't want to talk anymore, but I did all these for the Filipino. I did it because it is my job.) 

More than 6,000 people have been killed in over 200,000 anti-drug operations conducted since July 2016, according to official data. Human rights groups estimate the number of people killed could be several times higher.
 
Philippine authorities say the killings were in self-defense and that the ICC has no right to meddle.

The ICC prosecutor's office recently suspended the drug war probe at Manila's request. Court documents released by the ICC and confirmed by Philippine officials showed that Manila filed the deferral request on Nov. 10, citing the country's own investigations into drug war killings.

"The prosecution has temporarily suspended its investigative activities while it assesses the scope and effect of the deferral request," ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan wrote, adding that it would seek additional information from the Philippines.

Governments can ask the ICC to defer a case if they are implementing their own investigations and prosecutions for the same acts.

Duterte, 76, pulled the Philippines out of the ICC in 2018. The ICC maintains it has jurisdiction to investigate crimes committed while Manila was a member up until 2019.

A Philippine lawyers group called on the ICC not to remove the glimmer of hope for families of drug-war victims.

"We ask the ICC not to allow itself to be swayed by the claims now being made by the Duterte administration," the National Union of People's Lawyers, which represents some victims' families, said in a statement.

The Philippine justice system is "extremely slow and unavailing to the majority of poor and unrepresented victims", it said.

Human Rights Watch said the government's claim that existing domestic mechanisms afford citizens justice was absurd. "Let's hope the ICC sees through the ruse that it is," Brad Adam, its Asia director, said in a statement. 

— With a report from Reuters 

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