By Rey Panaligan
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said today the complaints for crimes against humanity filed before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Rodrigo Duterte would be dismissed outright.
In a text message to journalists, Aguirre said: “The accusations will not fly. We are confident of our defenses.”
Not only President Duterte but other senior government officials, including Aguirre, were named in the ICC complaint filed in April last year by lawyer Jude Sabio, counsel of confessed hitman Edgar Matobato.
Sabio claimed that the President and 11 other officials were liable for murder in the government’s drive against illegal drugs where police operations resulted in the death of thousands of Filipinos.
Aguirre said the members of the government’s defense panel before the ICC would be known “after a few more meetings.”
Earlier today, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo had said the President is not at all affected by the ICC move.
“That is nothing. And even the President is not affected by it,” Panelo was quoted as saying.
Solicitor General Jose Calida said the ICC complaint “is baseless and should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.”
“Based on the communication, the ICC has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case. And the case will not progress beyond the filing of the communication as it is utterly bereft of merit,” Calida said.
“There is no State policy, express or implied, directing an attack against any civilian population or the sanctioning of extrajudicial killings on drug-related cases. This basically removes this case from the purview of crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute,” he added.