By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Duterte government can expect women and human rights advocates to raise the ante of resistance against human rights abuses, following the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), Gabriela lawmakers said Sunday.
Gabriela Women’s partylist Reps.Arlene Brosas and Emmi de Jesus cautioned that the effectivity of the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC would further increase the human rights abuses committed by state forces.
“The country’s ICC withdrawal cowardly shields the Duterte regime from prosecution by the ICC over the numerous human rights violations related to the war on drugs. This alarmingly sounds off a nastier wave of rights abuses, that’s why women and advocates need to raise the ante of campaign for human rights,” Brosas said in a statement.
She said the Duterte government preempted any ICC investigation against its bloody war on drugs by withdrawing from the ICC.
“Wala pa ngang pormal na imbestigasyon, natakot agad ang gobyernong Duterte at nagpahayag na agad ng pag-withdraw sa ICC dahil ayaw nitong masisi at mapanagot sa madugong gera nito sa mamamayan,” she said, citing that the progress so far by the ICC prosecutor was only preliminary.
She noted President Duterte deposited the ICC withdrawal with the United Nations exactly a year ago, thus making it effective starting today as provided for in Article 127 of the Rome Statute. The Philippines became a signatory to it in December 2000.
Brosas expressed serious concern that with the ICC withdrawal, more police officers will commit “palit-puri” or the coercion of sexual favors on women in exchange for freedom of nabbed drug suspects.
“Nakakatakot isipin na higit na dadami ang mga halimaw na mapang-abuso sa hanay ng kapulisan at mas maraming kababaihan ang magiging biktima ng ganitong kamuhi-muhing kalakaran,” she said.
For her part, De Jesus said the crackdown and red-tagging of democratic organizations and individuals who oppose the policies of the Duterte regime would continue with the government’s ICC withdrawal.
“The ICC withdrawal may boost the mercenary rush among the soldiers, police and paramilitary and vigilante groups to further target, harass and neutralize those who are critical of the Duterte regime with impunity,” she said.
“Pero dapat nating ipaalala sa nag-aastang diktador sa Malakanyang na huhusgahan pa rin sya ng kasaysayan kahit kumalas ang Pinas sa ICC. Matutulad din sya kay Marcos na pinatalsik ng kababaihan at mamamayan,” De Jesus, a martial law survivor, said.
Brosas and De Jesus asked the public “to be more vigilant and to thwart Duterte’s naked use of authoritarian power to quell dissent and opposition as the country faces unprecedented political and economic crises.”