Duterte a ‘persona non-grata’

Duterte a ‘persona non-grata’"If he refuses to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, what’s next?"



The proposed investigation of the International Criminal Court presents an interesting study. President Rodrigo Duterte is accused of committing crimes against humanity.

An ICC pre-trial chamber has approved the conduct of an investigation on complaints filed against President Duterte. The crimes are said to have been committed during  his bloody war on illegal drugs during the period between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019.

The ICC investigation will include the deaths in the Davao area. They were allegedly committed between Nov. 1, 2011 and June 30, 2016; they were believed to have been perpetrated by the Davao Death Squad when Duterte was Davao City mayor. 

Official reports from the police list over 6,000 killings during the illegal drug war of Duterte, but unofficial estimates place the killings at 28,000. We all know that there are extra-judicial killings. Meanwhile, the so-called war continues. 

President Duterte says that he won’t cooperate with the proposed investigation by the ICC, hoping that it will just wither away after some time. He also says that this is an intrusion into the country’s jurisdiction and sovereignty after the Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute. 

What next? 

What else can the ICC do given that Duterte refuses to participate? This stalemate between Duterte and the ICC is a big letdown on the part of families to get justice for the killings of their loved ones. 

The ICC would just have to declare him a “persona non-grata,” a label which will stick in the world of nations, my gulay!

Here’s an interesting twist. PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar now says that since the PNP has nothing to hide, it is open to an investigation. The period covers a time when the country was still under the jurisdiction of the Rome Statute.

Eleazar was quoted to have said: “We are ready and we’ve always been ready to be investigated. We want to know who has committed wrongdoings to be held accountable.” Sure, but if President Duterte tells Eleazar to keep quiet, can the latter really do anything?

For one thing, the PNP has always been understating the number of killings. Despite attacks by several human rights groups and other institutions about Deterte’s refusal to face an ICC investigation, it seems not much can be done. 

I pity the families of those killed. 

• • 

I would not be surprised that at the rate Duterte is going, Senator Richard Gordon may make a bid for the presidency. The personal attacks have been making him an underdog. He has been called fat, and has been accused of making the Philippine Red Cross his milking cow. 

In my over seven decades as a lawyer-journalist, I know for a fact that when a President attacks a critic personally, the people tend to side with the victim. 

• • 

Every election year, people complain about the prevalence of political dynasties wherein three or more members of a family get elected in various positions of government or get appointed to several government positions. 

The Duterte family of Davao City is the perfect example. President Duterte is already President, while his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, mayor of Davao City. A son is vice mayor, and another son is representative. 

I can cite many more examples where political dynasties abound. 

A family of a Southern Tagalog province has as its governor, a former congressman, his wife is vice governor, a son a city mayor, a daughter representative of the province, and another son a city councilor. 

A well-known multi-billionaire’s family in Metro Manila has a senator, a city mayor daughter, a representative, another son of a cabinet member of the Duterte administration, an in-law undersecretary of the department of justice, Santa Banana, the list can go on and on. So what can be done about it? Shall this country eternally be ruled by political dynasties? 

While the 1987 Constitution bans political dynasties, there has been no enabling law for it. And why should lawmakers pass something to their detriment? 

I believe if there are candidates who want to be president of the republic, it would be a challenge for them to undertake a change in our political structure banning more than three members of a family from getting elected or appointed to a government position. That is a beginning. I believe it can be done. 

It could well begin with a new president, banning more than three members of a family from getting elected or getting appointed in government positions. That would be a real change and a new beginning.

Voters elect members of a family because they know they have the money. And considering that there are so many poor people who hardly have enough on the table to keep their bodies and souls together, the “masa” are blinded by money. They gravitate around a family who can feed them.

That is a real problem, and the reason why political dynasties prevail in every election. 

• • 

I could not believe it but I got more than 300 greetings on Facebook during my birthday last September 15. Since I cannot reciprocate and thank them all I’ll just thank them all in this column. God bless them all!

Topics: International Criminal Court , Rodrigo Duterte , war on illegal drugs , persona non-grata
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