Press Release
December 3, 2023

Bong Go asserts Filipinos should be the judge of the impact of Duterte's War on Drugs in their communities

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go has asserted that the assessment of the impact of former President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs on Filipino lives should be made by Filipinos themselves, highlighting the enhanced public safety achieved during Duterte's administration.

This statement is in the context of ongoing discussions about proposals of the Philippines rejoining the International Criminal Court (ICC). Go stressed that Filipinos know the real situation on the ground instead of what is perceived by the international community.

In an interview on Thursday, November 30, during a break from the Bicameral Conference Committee on the General Appropriations Bill, Go emphasized the Filipino people's role in evaluating the effectiveness of Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs.

"Hayaan na po natin ang Pilipino ang humusga kung mayroon bang nagbago sa buhay ninyo sa panahon ni dating pangulong Duterte. Filipinos should be the judge, Filipinos should be judged only by fellow Filipinos before Philippine courts operating under Philippine laws," he stated.

Reflecting on the past, Go highlighted a significant reduction in crime and fear, particularly concerning drug-related offenses, under Duterte's leadership.

"Tanungin n'yo na lang po ang mamamayang Pilipino sa panahon po ni (dating) Pangulong Duterte. Dapat Pilipino po ang humusga, kung mas nakakalakad ba ang mga anak ninyo noong panahon ni (dating) Pangulong Duterte na hindi nasasaktan, hindi nababastos," he remarked.

"Kung noong unang panahon po, 'yung anak natin takot maglakad d'yan sa gabi dahil andoon po 'yung mga addict at mga kriminal. Noong panahon ni (dating) Pangulong Duterte, nakakalakad sila, nakaka-uwi sila na hindi sila nasasaktan," added Go.

Go consistently emphasized that he considers the proposal of rejoining ICC as an affront to a working Philippine justice system that is functioning independently to uphold justice and maintain the rule of law. This clearly shows that there is no need for external intervention.

"Dapat po'y Pilipino po ang humusga at ako po'y naniniwala sa ating judicial system. ICC has no right and business to meddle in our internal affairs where our courts remain fully operational," Go declared.

Go also stressed the significance of international respect for Philippine jurisdiction in local judicial matters, echoing the sentiments earlier expressed by former president Duterte and even President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.

"Unang-una, nagsalita po ang dating pangulong Duterte. Nag-withdraw na po ang Philippine government sa membership sa ICC. At nagsalita rin po ang kasalukuyang mahal nating Pangulong Bongbong Marcos na meron naman tayong working judicial system," Go said.

President Marcos Jr. reiterated this stance recently in an interview last November 24. He was quoted saying: "Simple lang naman 'yang isyung 'yan. Hindi naman siguro tama na ang mga taga-labas, mga dayuhan ang magsasabi sa atin kung sino iimbestigahan ng pulis natin, sino aarestuhin ng pulis natin, sinong ikukulong ng pulis natin. Dapat Pilipino lang ang gumagawa niyan."

With this, Go emphasized the importance of protecting Philippine sovereignty against foreign interference.

"Ibig sabihin, magtiwala tayo sa ating judicial system. Huwag nating hahayaan na ang banyaga po ang magsabi kung sino ang iimbestigahan, sino ang kakasuhan, sino ang hahatulan," he emphasized.

Meanwhile, Go expressed his respect for fellow lawmakers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives who may have differing opinions on the matter.

"Nirerespeto rin po natin ang kanilang resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives on the matter," said Go.

"Kami naman dito sa Senado, kung magkakaroon man ng pagdidinig o iba't ibang resolution, nirerespeto rin po natin," he added.

The senator also expressed support for Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, former Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) under Duterte, advocating for his right to be judged by Filipinos.

In July this year, Marcos has already signaled an end to the Philippines' cooperation with the ICC regarding their probe into Duterte's war on drugs, noting that there were no pending appeals or actions, thereby concluding the country's dealings with the ICC.

On March 17, 2018, then-president Duterte notified the United Nations Secretary-General about the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC. In accordance with the provisions of the ICC treaty, the complete withdrawal took effect one year after the notification date.

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