Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that there’s no stopping his campaign against illegal drugs despite the impending preliminary examination into the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country.
Duterte on Monday, February 12 said that his controversial drug war will continue until the end of his term in 2022.
“Drugs — I like to address myself to the International Court of Justice and to the prosecutors coming here to investigate. The war or the drive against drugs will not stop,” he said during a speech in Cebu City.
“And it will last until the day I step out,” the president stressed.
Last week, the ICC announced that it will conduct a preliminary investigation into crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Duterte under his drug war to determine if there is basis to conduct a formal investigation against him.
But the unfazed president said he is ready to face investigation of the ICC.
He also added, “If I go to prison, I go to prison. If you want to execute me, look for a country that allows prisoners to be executed by firing squad. Doon ako (I’ll be there).”
Malacañang earlier welcomed the ICC’s move but dismissed the impending preliminary examination as a “waste of the court’s time and resources.”
The Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) also expressed confidence that the allegations of crimes against humanity against Duterte “will not fly.”
Since Duterte assumed presidency in mid-2016, the Philippine government has recorded about 4,000 deaths linked to his drive to eradicate illegal drugs in the country. But human rights groups have disputed it, saying the actual death toll is nearly thrice the official number.
Over the weekend, the head of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expressed readiness to assist the ICC in its preliminary examination into the country’s situation.
In a statement on Saturday, February 10, CHR Chief Jose Luis “Chito” Gascon also urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the DOJ to cooperate with the international court.
“The CHR is ready, if requested, to assist in any way with the process of preliminary examination. The government, as a party to the Rome Statute, is duty-bound to fully cooperate with the ICC,” said Gascon, a known critic of the drug war.