January 17, 2020 at 10:40 pm
Rio N. Araja and Macon Ramos-Araneta
Lawyer Jude Sabio on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte was innocent of the crime against humanity.
At the weekly Nanka forum in Quezon City, Sabio said the complaint, formally called “communication,” was “purely part of politics.”
He denied he was paid in exchange for the withdrawal of his complaint against the President.
The complaint was “nothing else but political propaganda” of ex-Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Senator Leila de Lima and the Liberal Party.
He blamed Trillanes, who asked him to file the complaint with the International Criminal Court.
He said the Bikoy scandal linking the family members of the President to illegal drug trade was politically motivated.
He was referring to the anonymous videos alleging the involvement of the Dutertes into illegal drugs.
But he maintained he withdrew his complaint “in the interest of justice.”
He said Trillanes recruited him to be the lawyer of Bikoy, whose real name is Peter Joemel Advincula, who released the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.
“Isn’t that deception? Isn’t that dishonesty?” he asked.
“As a political outsider, I made my submission with the ICC in my capacity as an independent lawyer advocating for (sic) justice, and not politics, against President Duterte,” Sabio’s manifestation read.
ICC said the complaint can no longer be withdrawn.
But Sabio said he, along with lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon, would go to The Hague, The Netherlands to personally file his withdrawal of communication.
In a related development, Senator Christopher Go stressed the announced withdrawal showed the allegations were a mere political trick and held no merit.
“It’s clear that politics was behind all the allegations against the President before the ICC,” said Go.
He also said the government has already identified the people behind the allegations and said that “their time will come.”
“We know who were behind moves to destroy the President. Just wait. It’s just weather, weather,” he said.
Sabio, a Filipino lawyer who filed the said complaint in April 2017 before the ICC, signed the 28-page affidavit on Tuesday, Jan. 14, saying he intended to withdraw his case against Duterte.
Sabio also said in a statement the complaint should be “set aside and trashed” because political opponents of the President were using it for political propaganda.
Go added that those behind the allegation only wanted to undermine the progress made by the administration’s war on drugs, a campaign which continues to draw widespread support from Filipinos.
As of 2019, he pointed out that 79 percent of Filipinos have expressed their support for the campaign, according to the latest Social Weather Stations survey.
Meanwhile, Go also defended President Duterte against those criticizing him for taking out a motorcycle for a 10-minute ride around the Presidential Security Group compound.
“The President has been working for 24 hours. Is it prohibited to go on motorbike even for a short time—just a stress reliever.” Go said.
“Filipinos see and understand and feel that because they can see the services he has been giving them. The President has been in public service for 42 years, and he’s 74 years old now,” he added.