Possible presence of ICC probers rattles overseer of Duterte drug war

By Beting Laygo Dolor, Manila Editor

MANILA – The possible arrival of International Criminal Court (ICC) investigators to the Philippines has so rattled the mastermind of the deadly drug war of former president Rodrigo Duterte that he even questioned the manhood of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa said the president should be man enough and admit if the report that ICC probers arrived in Manila last month. He also asked Mr. Marcos in the vernacular, “Do you want me to go to jail?”

Addressing the president during a press briefing, Dela Rosa said: “Be man enough (and) just tell us the real score.”

He said it seemed that “now, the air has changed.”

A peeved Mr. Marcos said “for the hundredth time” that his administration would not cooperate with any ICC investigation.

Speaking to local media on Tuesday, Jan. 23 (Manila time), the president said his administration would “not lift a finger” to assist the ICC. He added that the global court was a “threat” to the country’s sovereignty.

The president, however, said the ICC could come to Manila as visitors, investigate as much as they want, but expect no cooperation from any government entity.

Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla also said that the ICC could come to the Philippines and no harm would come to any of their representatives as long as they followed the country’s “legal procedures.”

The “let-them-in-but-don’t-cooperate-with-them” policy is a reversal of the previous stand of the government that ICC could not only be blocked from entering the country, but also arrested and declared persona non grata if they somehow found their way to Philippine territory.

Just last week, Dela Rosa – who headed the Philippine National Police at the onset of the Duterte regime – said the president himself had reiterated the stand that the ICC would be unwelcome in the Philippines.

It was former senator Antonio Trillanes lll who claimed that the ICC investigators had made their way to Manila and that the arrest of Duterte and Dela Rosa would likely take place in the second quarter this year.

The ICC, Trillanes said, had gathered sufficient evidence against former president Duterte and a warrant of arrest against him would be issued “very soon.”

Trillanes also said that Vice President Sara Duterte would also be a respondent in ICC’s case, as she allegedly approved the continuation of Dela Rosa’s “tokhang” operations during her time as Davao City mayor.

The VP said she was willing to be tried for her supposed complicity in the drug war, but vehemently refuses to face an international court.

It must be noted that Dela Rosa’s telling Mr. Marcos to be a man is considered a big insult in Filipino culture. In effect, the senator practically said that the president was not a man of his word, also a huge  insult among Filipinos.