The ICC no longer has any credibility after personalities such as Sen. Koko Pimentel have used it for politics, ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap said.

ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Yap. Image from his Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — The International Criminal Court (ICC) no longer has any credibility after personalities such as Senator Koko Pimentel have used it for politics, House appropriations committee chair and ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap said.

According to Yap on Monday, the ICC which is set to conduct its probe on President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies for their role in the war against illegal drugs is being turned into a stone that would be cast by presidential aspirants for the 2022 national elections.

“Madam speaker, simple lang po ang gusto kong iparating dito. Ang ICC po ay wala na pong credibility ngayon, ito po ay ginagamit ng mga pulitiko na gustong pumalit o gustong maging presidente sa darating na eleksyon,” Yap said in his privilege speech.

(Madam speaker, what I want to impart is simple.  The ICC no longer has  credibility today, because it is just being used by politicians who want to succeed, or those who want to be president in the coming elections.)

“Ang ICC ay nagpapagamit po, at madam Speaker, ito po ay nagiging political tool na ng mga kalaban (ICC is letting itself be used, and madam Speaker, it has become a political tool of the opponents),” he added.

He then dropped the name of Pimentel, noting the differences in the statement of the former senate president in 2018 when he was still siding with President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, and just recently when Pimentel’s PDP-Laban camp had a falling out with the other faction led by Duterte.

“Si Ginoong Koko Pimentel noong March 14, 2018, ang kanyang pahayag po sa Inquirer ay Philippine withdrawal from ICC hits non-sense case versus Duterte,” Yap said, showing screenshots of news stories about Pimentel’s statements.

(Mr. Koko Pimentel last March 14, 2018 made a statement with Inquirer, saying that he backs the Philippine withdrawal from the ICC, while hitting the non-sense case versus Duterte.)

“Pagkatapos, ngayon pong nagkaroon na po ng mga kung ano-anong paksyon dyan at nagkaron na po ng interes kung sino ang mamanukin sa 2022 election, ngayon September 19, 2021 Madam Speaker, ito naman po ang aking nabasa, at ako po ay nalaglag sa aking upuan habang binabasa ko ‘to: Government should be cooperative in ICC drug war probe,” he added.

(Now, when the divide and the factions have surfaced, and when personal interests on who to support for the 2022 elections, just this September 19, 2021 Madam Speaker, this is what I read and I fell from my seat: Government should be cooperative in ICC drug war probe.)

READ: Koko backs PH withdrawal from ICC, hits ‘non-sense’ case vs Duterte  | Cracks widen: Pacquiao camp ousts Duterte, picks Pimentel as PDP-Laban head 

Earlier, Yap had already questioned ICC about what is in it for them if they push charges against Duterte, questioning the timing of the complaints as the country goes into the political season with the upcoming 2022 National Elections.

The lawmaker said that since existing systems like the judiciary and investigating bodies are able to air the sentiments of the alleged drug war victims, the ICC must not meddle in Philippine affairs.

“Ang tanong ko po sa ICC Madam Speaker, bakit po sila manghihimasok sa isang bansa katulad natin kung saan gumagana po ang ating judiciary, gumagana po ang ating DOJ at PNP, nakakapag-imbestiga po tayo ng kaso,” Yap stressed.

(My question to the ICC madam Speaker, why are they intruding in a country like us, where the justice system works and other agencies like the DOJ and the PNP are able to investigate cases.)

“Gusto ko lang pong hikayatin ang ating mga kababayang Pilipino, na mag-isip po tayo — sa mga gumagamit sa ICC, sa mga pulitiko na pilit pong nakiki-sawsaw sa ICC,” he added.

(I want to encourage our fellow Filipinos, let us think about this — there are those using the ICC to their advantage, politicians who would like to meddle in the issue.)

The ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber last September 15 announced that they have approved the request of former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda for judicial authority, to proceed with a probe on the crimes against humanity complaints filed versus President Duterte.

Bensouda sought judicial authority last June 14 — days before she stepped down from her post — explaining that based on information gathered by her office, there is reason to believe that state actors have killed thousands of civilians under the war against illegal drugs.

READ: ICC pre-trial chamber authorizes start of probe into Duterte’s drug war 

Duterte is facing several complaints before the ICC, including those filed by staunch administration critic and former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, late lawyer Jude Sabio, and drug war victims from the Rise Up for Life and Rights.

According to the petitioners, Duterte has violated Article 7 of the Rome Statute for widespread and systematic attacks in the form of murder of thousands of civilians.

READ: ICC finds ‘reasonable basis’ to believe crimes against humanity committed in Duterte’s drug war 

JPV

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