No ICC Warrant for Duterte’s Arrest, Says Senator Bong Go

Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go. (Joseph B. Vidal / Senate Social Media Unit)
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Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has addressed the recent rumors circulating about the International Criminal Court (ICC) issuing an arrest warrant against former president Rodrigo Duterte for alleged crimes against humanity. Go clarified that he has not received any official confirmation regarding the warrant, emphasizing that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines.

In 2019, the Philippines withdrew its membership from the Rome Statute of the ICC after the court announced its intention to conduct a preliminary investigation into the extrajudicial killings that occurred during Duterte’s anti-drug campaign. Despite the withdrawal, the ICC has reminded the Duterte administration that the country still has obligations to cooperate in the ongoing proceedings.

Duterte’s controversial “war on drugs” resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 individuals, with approximately 8,663 classified as extrajudicial killings, according to the UN Report on the Human Rights Situation in the Philippines.

Responding to the possibility of an arrest, Senator Go highlighted President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s repeated declarations that the government would not cooperate with the ICC. This stance implies that local law enforcement agencies would not recognize or provide assistance to the ICC in its investigation.

Go questioned the feasibility of an arrest without coordination with local authorities, particularly in Duterte’s hometown of Davao City. He emphasized that without the cooperation of law enforcement agencies, it would be challenging to apprehend the former president.

The senator reiterated Duterte’s unwavering stance, stating that the president remains unfazed by the ICC warrant. Go expressed his trust in President Marcos’ statement that the Philippine government would not acknowledge the ICC’s authority.

Furthermore, Go firmly denied allegations of his involvement in any illegal activities, including extrajudicial killings. He dismissed these accusations as old and fabricated, asserting that he has never received any illegal orders from Duterte. He emphasized his commitment to upholding the law and stated that he would never comply with any illegal directives.

Reflecting on Duterte’s principles of national development, Go highlighted the former president’s commitment to fairness and equality. He shared Duterte’s belief that all projects should be distributed equitably across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, ensuring that no region is left behind.

Senator Go recently met with Duterte in Davao City after attending a Senate hearing on the alleged buying of signatures for a people’s initiative (PI) campaign to amend the 1987 Constitution. During their meeting, Duterte expressed his opposition to the PI, considering it rushed and flawed.

Additionally, Duterte was invited to a prayer rally or gathering for unification by a religious group led by Greco Belgica, a former commissioner of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), and his father, Butch Belgica, a former Manila councilor and pastor. Senator Go mentioned that Duterte was open to the idea but was uncertain about his attendance.

In conclusion, Senator Bong Go has dismissed rumors of an ICC arrest warrant against former president Rodrigo Duterte, emphasizing that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines. He reiterated Duterte’s firm stance on non-cooperation with the ICC and denied any involvement in illegal activities. Go also highlighted Duterte’s commitment to fairness and equality in national development. The senator’s comments provide insights into the current situation and shed light on the former president’s perspective on recent events.

Source: The Manila Times

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