Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile called on the Filipinos to defend President Rodrigo Duterte from critics and detractors supporting the move of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to conduct a formal investigation into his administration’s drug war.
He dismissed the Hague-based court, noting that those authorized to look into the anti-illegal drug operations should be declared “persona non grata”
“The International Criminal Court keeps insisting on investigating the President of the Philippines, they do not realize that he’s authorized by the Constitution to enforce the laws,” he said in Filipino in an interview over SMNI News Channel, the broadcasting arm of a Philippine television evangelist, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.
Enrile said since the country’s highest elected official can be held accountable through the process of impeachment, and there is no need for the ICC to step in.
Instead, he said Filipinos should make a joint effort to protect the President as a “symbol of statehood.”
“We, Filipinos can impeach our President, but if the President is being persecuted by foreigners, the President, symbol of our statehood, who is not an ordinary person…we must all bond together to support him and throw out any foreigner who cast any doubt on the authority and nobility on our President,” he added in Filipino.
Enrile said the ICC seemed to be using Duterte’s critics and detractors to further their “political agenda.”
“If we’re really Filipinos, we must defend the elected leader of our country. Let us not allow foreigners to insult us…A slap on our President by others, from other countries is a slap on the Filipino people,” he said in Filipino.
Enrile said those who supported the ICC probe were most likely communists.
“Those who support the ICC are leftists who go against our kind of government. They’re probably followers of Karl Marx and [Vladimir] Lenin. If they want to become communists, they should go to Russia or North Korea,” he said in Filipino.
He said a communist type of government was “impractical” in the country’s current setting.
On Wednesday, judges at the ICC gave its green light to the request of its former chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to conduct a full-blown investigation into Duterte’s drug war.
Malacañang has insisted that Duterte would never allow ICC to have jurisdiction over him because the Philippines has a “working” justice system.
Duterte has repeatedly said he would only participate in the ICC investigation if local courts are no longer functioning.
The ICC’s move to conduct an investigation into Duterte’s drug war came despite the Philippines’ cutting of ties with the international court.
The Philippines formally withdrew its membership from the ICC on March 17, 2019, or exactly a year after it revoked the Rome Statute that created the international tribunal.