GMA News Online : Marcos Jr.: ICC probers welcome to Philippines as tourists

25 January 2022

By RICHA NORIEGA, MA. ANGELICA GARCIA | GMA News Online

If he wins the presidency in Eleksyon 2022, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he would allow the team from the International Criminal Court (ICC) to come to the Philippines not as probers on the alleged drug war deaths, but as tourists.

In an interview with Boy Abunda, he said there was no need for foreigners to conduct an investigation as the country has a fully functioning judiciary .

"Papayagan ko sila rito pero magturista lang sila, dahil ang pagkakaunawa ko, the ICC is there 'pag walang judiciary na nag-ooperate sa isang bansa, pag may economic collapse, gera, d'yan papasok ang ICC," he said.

"We have a functioning judiciary, that's why I don't see the need of foreigners to come and do the job for our judicial system, we are perfectly capable of doing that," he added.

Marcos said the intervention of the ICC "raises questions on jurisdiction and sovereignty."

"Is that not a violation of our rights as a sovereign nation in the community of nations? Those questions need to be answered before they can be allowed any investigation," he added.

Marcos was asked a hypothetical question what he intends to do should the ICC prosecutor writes the government requesting its team to come to the country and begin its probe on alleged crimes against humanity linked to the administration's drug war.

The ICC "investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression," its website said.

The Philippines was a signatory to the Rome Statute, a treat that created the ICC, until March 17, 2019 when its withdrawal as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte took effect.

The ICC temporarily halted its probe on the Duterte administration’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs after the Philippines requested the international court to defer the investigation.

In a letter to ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan dated November 10, Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands Eduardo Malaya said the Philippine government had been looking into the alleged abuses in the course of the campaign.

The ambassador cited the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) referral to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) of 52 cases where the Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service found administrative liability on the part of the concerned personnel.

The DOJ is also looking into more than 300 cases that involve "concluded and ongoing preliminary investigations into deaths of a similar nature," he said.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte maintained that he would only face a Philippine court with a Filipino judge, and if convicted, would choose to be imprisoned in Muntinlupa.

Pursue war on drugs

Marcos said the problem on illegal drugs should still be pursued as it continues to hound the Filipinos.

"The problem continues to exist. Everybody can see the influence of drug lords in our everyday lives," he said.

"Nag-usap kami ni President Duterte noon and sabi niya, hindi ko na-imagine na ganito pala kalalim, ganito pala kabigat ang problema ng droga. Kaya para sa akin, kailangan ipagpatuloy ang laban kontra sa droga," he added.

He said focus should also be on prevention and cure of those individuals addicted to drug use.

"Treat drug addicts as patients in need of a cure. It becomes a crime when they're involved in distribution or sale of illegal drugs," Marcos said.

Asked if his campaign against illegal drugs will be bloody, Marcos said he will focus on big drug lords.

"Medyo wholesale ngayon ang enforcement eh. I-focus natin doon sa malalaki talaga. Kilala naman ng lahat 'yan eh, malalaman talaga. 'Yon ang targetin natin, 'wag na 'yong mga pangkaraniwan," he said.

Further, asked why the public should not vote for his opponents, Marcos said he does not want to indulge in negative campaigning but that he is the only one advocating for unity.

"I believe that none of the other candidates have yet come to the conclusion that unity ang ating pangangailangan at doon magsisimula ang ating pagbalik mula dito sa krisis ng pandemya," he said.—LDF, GMA News