Senator Bato dela Rosa Says 'No' to ICC Probe, Asks Not to Judge the Philippines' 'Working Justice System'
Last June 24, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan expressed his desire to reopen the probe on former President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs. The ICC then asked drug war victims and their families to comment on the matter on July 14. It then gave the Philippines until September 8 to submit additional comments and observations.
However, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who was the chief implementer of the program, said that he has no plans of cooperating with the ICC.
In an interview with ANC on Monday, July 18, the senator expressed his concerns against the investigation. He remarked: “Para mo akong sinusugba, parang gusto mo akong ihawin sa sarili kong apoy. I am the number two accused and gusto mo akong papasok na lang sa kanilang kagustuhan.”
The former Philippine National Police chief also stressed that he wasn't afraid of any probe, but said that he would much rather face a local court than a "Western" one. Dela Rosa explained that Western judges have no proper understanding of the drug problem in the Philippines.
“Wala akong kinakatakutan, ang takot ko lang, ‘yung magta-try sa ‘kin, hindi alam ‘yung problema dito sa ating bansa kaya ang kinakatakutan ko na hindi nila alam ‘yung ginagawa natin dito,” claimed the senator. “I can face any courts kung gusto mo akong kasuhan, dito kasuhan mo ako sa korte ng Pilipinas. Alam ko na mga Pilipino ang magta-try sa ‘kin ‘pag ganun. Ikaw ba payag kang i-try ka ng foreigner, ng isang foreign entity?”
Dela Rosa, who headed the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs in the 18th Congress, added that it would be an insult to our local courts to let foreigners meddle in our domestic affairs. He asserted that the Philippines' justice system is, in fact, working.
"Siguro pwede silang pumasok kung hindi gumagana ‘yung ating justice system pero it’s perfectly working, wala namang akong nakikitang problema,” he said. “Gusto nila sila na lang ang mag-Supreme Court dito sa Pilipinas? Sila na lang ang maging Department of Justice ng Pilipinas? Sobrang panghihimasok na ‘yan sa ating domestic affairs. That’s a total infringement of our sovereignty."
As of April 30, 2022, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, through its Real Numbers PH report, showed that the total number of drug war-related deaths in the country is at 6,248. It also revealed that 341,494 suspects have been arrested in the 236,620 drug war operations that began during President Duterte's term.