Palace on Duterte case at ICC: ‘It would be disappointing if int’l court takes word of admitted murderer’

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File photo of President Rodrigo Duterte from Presidential Photo Desk

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang would be displeased if the International Criminal Court (ICC) would believe the allegations made by a confessed killer against President Rodrigo Duterte.

This was the statement issued by presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Tuesday, April 25, a day after it was reported that Jude Josue Sabio, lawyer of Edgar Matobato, filed a complaint before the international tribunal based in The Hague, Netherlands.

“It would really be disappointing if the court took the word of an admitted murderer as the basis for action,” Abella said.

The 77-page complaint against Duterte and other top government officials was mainly based on the testimonies of Matobato and retired police officer Arturo Lascañas.

Matobato earlier admitted that he was a member of the vigilante group Davao Death Squad, which according to his DDS boss Lascañas was allegedly funded and founded by Duterte when he was still mayor of Davao City.

In the complaint, Sabio accused Duterte of “repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously” committing mass murders of thousands of people since he was mayor and until he assumed the presidency last year.

But Malacañang thinks the complaint won’t hold water.

“As far as we can see, it has no basis to prosper,” said Abella.

“As far as we know, this thing right now is just propaganda. So let’s just wait for the process to unfold,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Ronald dela Rosa said it would be too stupid for the ICC to believe the allegations made by Sabio.

He dismissed as baseless the claim pf Matobato’s lawyer that the drug-related killings in the Philippines were state-sponsored.

“Napakagago ng ICC kung maniwala sila sa abogado na iyon. Sino magsabi na state sponsored pagpatay?” said Dela Rosa, among the respondents in the complaint.

Also, Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque on Tuesday said the complaint was “premature, suspect, and bound to fail.”

He said the ICC “was established as a court of last resort” and thus “was intended to complement, not replace, national courts in ending the gravest crimes against the international community.”

“I maintain that while I fully support the fight against impunity, I do not believe that engaging the ICC is appropriate,” Roque said.