The International Criminal Court (ICC) got a “sucker punch” when lawyer Jude Sabio dropped the communication he lodged against President Rodrigo Duterte, a Palace official said on Wednesday.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said he anticipated Sabio to drop the communication since they were “baseless and unfounded.”
“This revelation is a sucker punch to the ICC and all the human rights groups that have been deceived by the perpetrators of unreliable, fabricated, and tainted information,” Andanar said in a statement.
Andanar explained that Sabio’s move only revealed that it was “nothing more than political propaganda of oppositionists against the administration.”
He condemned the opposition anew for undermining the President and this administration’s effective crackdown on illegal drugs.
The PCOO chief also insisted that the administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign has always respected due process and the rule of law.
He also assured that the administration never condoned extrajudicial killings perpetrated by rogue cops and paid vigilantes.
The government, he said, continues to cleanse its law enforcement agencies.
“Despite malicious muckraking, this government will continue President Duterte’s programs and campaigns against criminality and illegal drugs as part of this administration’s legacy of peace and order and public safety,” Andanar said. “Let’s all keep in mind that truth will continue to prevail.”
In a separate statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it appeared that Sabio was merely tapped by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to file the complaint against the President.
“The professional tie between the two has since turned sour owing to Trillanes’ alleged failure to pay Sabio’s professional fees leading to the latter’s withdrawal of his complaint before the ICC,” he said.
“Trillanes must be squirming in his disgraced retirement by Sabio’s turnabout,” he added.
Panelo said the ICC should be awakened to the fact that Duterte’s enemies want to fulfill the “impossible dream” to topple the current administration.
“The ICC has to wake up from its stupor if not ignorance,” Panelo said.
In its report on “preliminary examination activities” for 2019, the ICC sought the conclusion of its initial review of Duterte’s drug war by 2020 to determine the possible conduct of a full-blown investigation into the Philippines’ campaign against the narcotics trade.
The Philippines was officially out of the ICC on Mar. 17, 2019, but the international body still proceeded with its preliminary examination of the anti-narcotics campaign initiated by Duterte despite the country’s exit.
In February 2018, the ICC launched a preliminary examination of Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs based on Sabio’s communication that accuses the President of committing crimes against humanity for the killings of thousands of drug offenders from July 1, 2016 to Mar. 31, 2017.
On Tuesday, Sabio asked ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to remove his name from the communications sent to the international tribunal. (PNA)