Sat. May 21st, 2022

President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday defended his anti-narcotics drive, saying it was meant to protect the country from the scourge of illegal drugs.

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Duterte, in a speech delivered in Dapa, Siargao during the inauguration of a sports complex and bridge system, said he is merely keeping his promise to halt the drug menace to protect Filipinos, especially the youth.

“I did it because I want to protect your children and their future. It’s not for my benefit. It’s the Filipino people who benefitted from it,” Duterte said partly in Filipino.

He added that his anti-drug campaign was not even giving him pleasure.

“But ito (this [drug war]), everything, I did it for my country. I did not benefit from that. I do not have any satisfaction with that. I did not get a single centavo from that,” Duterte said partly in Filipino.

Duterte also took a swipe anew at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for carrying out a full-blown investigation into allegations of crimes against humanity associated with his drug war.

Duterte said it was “stupid” for ICC to probe his anti-narcotics drive.

“I just did my job because I do not want my country to be destroyed [because of illegal drugs]). That is the long and short of the story about the ICC. That’s stupid,” he said in Filipino. “For as long as I am a worker of government, I will do everything to protect my country.”

Duterte reiterated that he would not allow the “white people” at the ICC to have jurisdiction over him.

He maintained that he would only face a Filipino judge in the country and be detained in a Philippine prison.

“They said I have a case before the ICC. I will not allow myself to be judged by white people in another place, outside of my country,” Duterte said in Filipino. “If I go to prison, I go to Muntinlupa. If I am tried, I should be tried by a Filipino judge in a Philippine tribunal and I should be prosecuted by a Filipino prosecutor.”

In October, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan promised that the investigation into Duterte’s drug war would “uncover the truth and aim to ensure accountability.”

Khan added that the ICC is “willing to constructively engage” with Philippine authorities, in accordance with the principle of complementarity and the court’s obligation under the Statute.

Malacañang, however, said it would be difficult for ICC to uncover the truth in Duterte’s anti-drug campaign sans the Philippine government’s cooperation.

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