Bishop Broderick Pabillo gladly welcomed the International Criminal Court or ICC’s probe into the Philippine government’s “war on drugs.”
“In a way, it is a welcome development because if there are no crimes committed, then the investigation will show,” the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila said on Wednesday, June 16.
“What we want to prevent is the culture of impunity where they (officials) can do whatever they want but they are not being held accountable,” he added. (Read: Bishop Pabillo Urges Church Leaders Not to Remain Silent)
Pabillo is among the Church leaders who have long been calling for transparency and accountability on President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, which claimed tens of thousands of lives in the past years.
Crimes Against Humanity
On June 14, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda submitted an application to the pre-trial chamber (PTC) to open an investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity committed under Duterte’s crackdown against illegal drugs.
She also sought a probe into the killings in Davao City from 2011 to 2016, when Duterte was still the mayor of the city.
“Given the similarities between those killings and the nationwide War on Drugs killings from July 2016 to March 2019.. the Prosecution requests that the 2011-2016 events in Davao be included within the requested investigation,” Bensouda said.
The Malacañang, however, said it will not cooperate with any probe by the ICC and accused the latter of turning the matter into a political issue. (Read: Priest wants to help Philippine government in the war on drugs)
“They will just waste time and resources of the court because, without cooperation from the Philippine state, they won’t be able to make a case except for one based on hearsay and from the communists and political enemies of the President,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
The application is Bensouda’s farewell move for the Philippines before she retired as ICC chief prosecutor on June 15. She is succeeded by Britain’s Karim Khan, who will navigate the case moving forward.