Press Release
June 17, 2021

Dispatch from Crame No. 1,077:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the Duterte Government's Protests Against the ICC

The hypocrisy of the Duterte Administration is again exemplified by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in his condemnation of the ICC investigation as requested by former ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. The presidential spox does protest too much, considering that through the years, his principal has invariably admitted to ordering the murders committed by his death squads, first in Davao, then in the whole country. In fact, a great part of the evidence mentioned by Bensouda that made her arrive at the OTP's conclusions is none other than Duterte's public declarations. If only Duterte has shut his mouth, there might not even be an OTP preliminary examination.

But no. Because Duterte cannot be humble about his murders, it would have been foolish for anybody in any international investigation body not to consider Duterte's public declarations ordering the summary execution of drug suspects as prima facie evidence of the fact that indeed the killings have been precipitated by Duterte's own policies and orders to conduct the systematic attack on civilians, criminals or not.

Roque cannot blame anyone else but his own boss who cannot be humble about the fact that he is a murderer, he just has to shout it out to the world every so often. And now that the world has taken notice, all this breast-beating that would shame even the worst dramatic actors cannot but amuse all of us.

Hindi lang pang-Famas ang acting ni Roque. Pang Oscars pa. Best Dramatic Actor in an Overacting Role. Mahiya ka Roque. Abogado ka pa naman. Sa dami ng beses na pag-amin ni Duterte, kahit anong korte sa mundo ay kaya na siyang husgahan ng isandaang beses. Huwag kang OA.

Perhaps what is most telling about Bensouda's Report is that the OTP had already taken steps to preserve the evidence it has so far gathered. I am fairly certain that this would include protecting the witnesses it had already talked to, including former DDS hitmen.

This only goes to show how insipidly pretentious is Menardo Guevarra's DOJ investigation of the drug war killings. Five years into the murders and thousands of deaths since, Guevarra still has to file even just one percent of the so-called "death under investigation" cases in court. Guevarra's so-called drug death investigations are nothing but a show for the UNHCHR, while everybody knows who the real masterminds are: Guevarra's own boss, his police chief executioners and their social media enablers.

This brings us to this government's protestations on the issue of complementarity. Roque poured his heart, guts, and oily sweat out in saying that there is nothing more painful to a Filipino lawyer than to hear that the Philippine justice system is not working. Bravo Harry. If not politics, definitely you have a future in the movies.

We all know that Duterte and all his police chiefs are not being investigated by any domestic institution. Not by the Ombudsman, much less the DOJ. The one case that has been filed against Duterte by former DDS executioner Edgar Matobato has been dismissed by the Ombudsman on the ground of presidential immunity, without said office even filing an impeachment case against Duterte as mandated under the Ombudsman Act. In my own case, the Supreme Court has said that I have no legal remedy against Duterte when he destroyed my reputation and continues to libel me.

How can your justice system, Harry, be working when it cannot even uphold the basic Republican principles of democracy and equality, but instead has ensconced the Duterte royalty in Malacañang Palace, free to ruin any person without any consequences whatsoever?

There is no other recourse, when every institutional safeguard created by the Constitution to protect the people from a murderous President and his murdering police and collaborator officials have entirely and absolutely failed to deliver justice to thousands of dead human beings. That is what the ICC is for. It is not to go after every inconsequential Tom, Dick and Harry who pulled the trigger, but to run down 'til kingdom come the masterminds behind them: the presidents, the dictators, their generals and ministers.

In short, the ICC is there to go after the highest officials who get away with crimes against humanity precisely because they have caused the justice system in their own country to fail, deliberately and absolutely, so that they can get away with murder. And in that instance, any court of law in any nation that is minded to can, as a matter of international law, proceed against them as enemies of mankind, like pirates, like terrorists, like genocidal maniacs. Because they are monsters among men, they do not deserve to live among us, but in a cage on an island of their own. ###

(Access the handwritten version, here:

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