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Palace tells int’l court Duterte has no hand in EJKs— coz Senate panel said so


Malacañang has assured the International Criminal Court (ICC) that President Rodrigo Duterte has no hand in the incidents of alleged extrajudicial killings in the country following the interest a prosecutor of the tribunal has expressed in probing the deaths of suspected criminals under the administration.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said no less than the chairman of the Senate justice committee, Senator Richard Gordon, has cleared Duterte of any liability in the alleged incidents of EJKs after his panel wrapped up its inquiry on the matter last Oct. 13.

“The recently concluded investigation by the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights on the alleged summary executions of crime suspects absolved President Rodrigo Duterte of any involvement in the killings, when he was still mayor and in the country now that he is President,” Abella said in a statement issued Saturday (Oct. 15).

“The official report will be presented on Monday, 17 October 2016. The Chair himself has been quoted as saying, ‘there is no proof that the killings were state-sponsored,’” he added.

Although a Senate panel has already cleared Duterte of any involvement in EJKs, Abella said the President is willing to submit himself to investigation by “any body.”

“If any of these prosper, and within agreed upon parameters, it should lay to rest the undue attention the Philippine campaign against drugs has been subject to, and focus on the second phase of regarding the matter as a Public Health, Social and Economic issue,” he said.

“In effect, what is being waged is a social revolution of making right the wrongs that have been embedded over generations and past administrations,” Abella added.

On Oct. 13, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said his office will be “closely following developments in the Philippines in the weeks to come” with the aim of determining whether a preliminary examination on the country’s situation should be started.

Bensouda said EJKs may fall under the ICC’s jurisdiction “if they are committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population pursuant to a State policy to commit such an attack.”