Duterte gov’t says ICC probe on PH drug war ‘legally erroneous, politically-motivated’

Robie de Guzman   •   June 15, 2021   •   362

 

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will never cooperate with any possible investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the alleged killings attributed to his administration’s war against drugs, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the ICC’s decision to move forward into a formal investigation is “legally erroneous” and “politically-motivated.”

“Hinding-hindi magko-cooperate ang Presidente hanggang matapos ng kanyang termino sa June 30, 2022,” he said in a press briefing.

“Hindi po natin alam kung ano ang magiging polisiya after 2022. ‘Yan po ay bibigyan ng kasagutan kung sino man ang susunod na president ng Pilipinas.

Roque issued the statement after outgoing ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Monday she has asked the court for authorization to formally conduct a full investigation into the Philippines’ drug war.

Bensouda said there is a reasonable basis to believe that murder has been committed in the Philippines between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019 in the context of the state policy.

But Roque, a lawyer and the only Filipino member of the ICC’s list of counsels, said the decision to conduct formal investigation is “legally erroneous because in the first place, the ICC has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of crimes against humanity as alleged in her information against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.”

He also said that the police did not systematically attack civilians in the drug war as the killings during the campaign were “coincidental or collateral damage either because the policeman had the right to defend to himself using reasonable force or they were in fact the subject of an attack and therefore justified by the principle of necessity and proportionality.”

The presidential spokesman also said that the case, even for purposes of formal investigation, is “barred by the principle of complementarity” and the investigation is “not pursuant or in aid of substantial justice.”

“Ang sinasabi po ng prinsipyo ng complementarity, the ICC will not exercise jurisdiction unless the member-state is unable or unwilling to prosecute,” he explained.

“Kapag sinabi pong unable, ibig sabihin, walang estado, walang hukuman, walang pulis na gumagana, it is a failed state. Ang unwilling po is when you have legislation according impunity to an individual, wala po tayong ganyan sa Pilipinas,” he added.

He also underscored that cases in the course of a police operation are being investigated and that the country does not need foreigners to probe the incidents because the Philippines’ legal system still works.

“Hindi po natin kinakailangan ang mga dayuhang mag-iimbestiga ng mga patayan sa drug war dahil gumagana po ang sistemang ligal sa Pilipinas. Mayroong mga piskal at hukumang nagparusa na,” Roque said.

The Palace official also believes that the complaint was politically motivated as it was filed by someone who now wants to seek a higher position in the next elections. He did not mention any names but former Senator Antonio Trillanes was believed to be behind the move.

He also claimed that Bensouda made the decision as she supposedly wants to deflect criticism that only investigates cases involving Africa.

“Politika rin ang dahilan kung bakit si Prosecutor Bensouda ay nagsampa dahil ang puna sa kanya ang kinakasuhan lang ninya ay mga kapwa Aprikano niya. Kinakailangan niyang magkaso ng hindi Aprikano, para patunayan na kaya lang niyang magsampa sa mga kapwa Aprikano niya,” Roque said.

Under ICC statute, a prosecutor must seek authorization from the pre-trial chamber if there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.

In March 2019, the Philippines effectively withdrew from the Rome Statute after Duterte cancelled the country’s membership of the ICC’s founding treaty.

Under the ICC’s withdrawal mechanism, the court retains jurisdiction over crimes committed during the membership period of a state.

The ICC’s preliminary examination on the situation in the Philippines started in February 2018, covering the period of Duterte’s first day in office in July 2016 up to the time of the country’s withdrawal form the Rome Statute.

Duterte thanks outgoing British envoy Pruce for help in accessing more COVID-19 vax shots

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte thanked outgoing British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce for his role in improving the Philippines’ access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Duterte expressed his gratitude when Pruce made his farewell call in Malacañang on Wednesday (August 4).

In a statement issued by the Palace, Duterte thanked the United Kingdom for donating 415,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the Philippines’ vaccination drive.

“President Duterte cited Ambassador Pruce’s personal role in improving vaccine access for the Philippines eventually leading to the conclusion of the innovative Tripartite Agreement between the government of the Philippines (GPH), local government units (LGU), and private sector for the procurement of AstraZeneca vaccines,” the statement read.

Duterte also congratulated Pruce for a successful tour of duty, crediting him for the “revitalization of the United Kingdom’s economic and political presence in the Philippines through high-level exchanges and dialogues.”

Meanwhile, the president called for the finalization of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Recruitment of Filipino healthcare professionals to ensure fair, ethical, and sustainable recruitment and employment of Filipino healthcare workers in the United Kingdom.

“President Duterte also reiterated the Philippines’ support for the UK’s Presidency of COP26 in 2021, recognizing the UK’s bold commitments as it steers the global climate agenda towards urgent climate action,” the Palace said.

Pruce, for his part, thanked Duterte for the Philippines’ support of the UK’s dialogue partnership with ASEAN, and in its efforts to further strengthen bilateral ties across a broad range of areas, including political and defense cooperation, trade and investments, people-to-people exchanges, and fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

He also stressed the importance placed by the UK on its relations with the Philippines and further underscored that the Philippines-UK diplomatic cooperation will continue to grow.

32% ng senior citizens sa bansa, fully vaccinated vs COVID-19 — DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   August 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Nasa 32 porsiyento na ng mga senior citizen sa bansa ang nabakunahan laban sa COVID-19, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Mula Agosto 1, mahigit na sa 2.6 milyong senior citizen ang fully vaccinated habang nasa 2.8 milyon ang nakatanggap ng first dose.

Sa Metro Manila, halos 63 percent na ng mga senior citizen na nakalista sa master list ang mga fully vaccinated habang 68 percent naman ay nabakunahan ng first dose.

Ngunit ayon kay Dr. Beverly Ho, ang direktor ng DOH Health Promotion Bureau, malaking bilang pa rin ng mga nasa A2 priority group ang kailangang mabakunahan sa gitna na rin ng banta ng Delta COVID-19 variant sa Pilipinas.

Kaya panawagan ni Ho sa publiko, lalo na sa bawat pamilyang may miyembro na senior citizen, na kumbinsihin ang mga matatanda na magpaturok na laban sa coronavirus disease upang mabigyan sila ng proteksyon mula sa nakakahawang sakit.

“Mahalaga rin po na alam natin na ngayon lumalabas po sa ating mga datos na ang mga senior citizens nakikinig po talaga sila sa mga taong malapit sa kanila , it could be family, friends na nabanukahan na mga fellow senior citizens at mga physicians o healthcare providers na malapit rin sa kanila,” ang wika ni Ho.

Tiniyak naman ng opisyal na may ginagawa nang paraan ang mga lokal na pamahalaan upang mahikayat ang mas marami pang senior citizen na magpabakuna.

Halimbawa nito ay ang pagsasagawa ng house-to-house na pagbabakuna lalo na sa mga lolo at lola na may mga karamdaman.

Katuwang ng DOH sa pagpapaigting ng vaccination program ang National Commission for Senior Citizens.

Ayon kay Atty. Franklin Quijano, ang pinuno ng komisyon, marami sa kanilang hanay ang gusto nang magpaturok pero ang problema, maraming lugar sa bansa ang limitado ang supply ng bakuna.

“We understand kasi na ang inuuna ngayon Metro Manila at ang mga lugar na may medyo mataas ang rates ng COVID, so in which case maraming nagrereklamo po sa mga areas na medyo hindi pa nabibigyan ng bakuna dahil nga po hindi pa dumarating ang mga bakuna,” ani Quijano.

“We would like to assure you marami po talagang senior citizens ang gustong magpabakuna ang problema nga lang hindi pa dumarating ang suplay dahil meron tayong priority areas,” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, sang-ayon ang DOH sa pahayag ng World Health Organization (WHO) na bilisan pa ang pagpapabakuna sa mga senior citizen lalo’t mayorya ng mga Pilipinong namamatay sa COVID-19 ay pawang mga may edad na.

“Alam po natin na talaga po all those people more than 60 years old, they actually account for more than 60 percent ng mga namamatay sa COVID-19 dito sa ating bansa,” ang pahayag ni Ho.

“Yung percentage po na namamatay na senior citizens tumataas habang tumaas po yung kanilang edad,” dagdag pa niya.

Una nang inirekomenda ng WHO na gawing prayoridad sa pagbabakuna ang mga senior citizen at may comorbidites upang mapigilan ang pagka-puno ng mga ospital ng mga pasyenteng may malalang kaso ng COVID-19. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Marvin Calas)

9 na rehiyon sa bansa, may local cases ng Delta COVID-19 variant — DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   August 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Umaabot na sa siyam na rehiyon sa bansa ang nakapagtala ng local cases ng Delta COVID-19 variant, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Batay sa monitoring ng ahensiya, naitala ang mga ito sa Ilocos region, National Capital Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao at Davao.

Ayon kay Dr. Alethea de Guzman, Director 3 ng DOH Epidemiology Bureau, nasa 165 ang naitalang local cases mula sa 216 kabuuang kaso ng Delta variant sa bansa.

Sa mga carrier nito, 190 na ang gumaling habang siyam naman ang nasawi.

“Nakakatakot po but with correct messaging we can alleviate the panic that people and all sectors are experiencing because of this,” ani De Guzman.

Bagama’t dumarami ang kaso ng Delta variant sa Pilipinas, sinabi ng DOH na pinakamataas pa rin ang naitatalang kaso ng Beta variant na unang natuklasan sa South Africa.

Ngunit naniniwala ang mga eksperto na posibleng may undetected cases ng Delta variant dahil na rin sa limitadong kapasidad ng bansa sa genome sequencing.

Ayon kay De Guzman, sa ngayon ay nasa moderate risk classification ang Pilipinas dahil umabot na sa 50 porsiyento ng health system capacity ang okupado. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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