Palace on Sara presidency assurance of Duterte's non-arrest by ICC: Court has no jurisdiction
Malacanang has reiterated that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over President Rodrigo Duterte or any Filipino.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement late Sunday night after columnist Ellen Tordesillas came out with a column on February 23 entitled "'Pres' Sara in 2022 is Duterte's assurance from ICC arrest when he is out of Malacanang."
"The opinion of Ms. Tordesillas, is nonsensical. The ICC has no jurisdiction over PRRD (Duterte), and for that matter any Filipino citizen," Panelo said in a statement.
Duterte, a lawyer, earlier said the ICC has no jurisdiction over him as the Rome Statute, which created the court, was not binding in the Philippines due to absence of publication. This, he said was a requirement for such treaty to be effective, similar to other local penal laws that require publication.
While he claimed that the Rome Statute was void ab initio, he also ordered the Philippine withdrawal from the ICC.
Tordesillas has said there is no need to revise the Constitution to allow Duterte to continue in power after 2022 as Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio could succeed her.
Some quarters have been pushing Carpio to run for the 2022 presidential elections.
Panelo earlier said he would not be surprised if Carpio would be the next president.
Carpio, in one interview, said she would decide on whether she would run or not in the 2022 presidential elections by January 2021 because she did not want to be on the top "hate list" of those who are eyeing the presidency this early.
Tordesillas has said once Carpio becomes the next president she would surely not allow the ICC to arrest Duterte when the case against him progresses.
"He (Duterte) would not have to answer for extra-judicial killings attributed to him. Sara as the next president will also continue to clamp down on the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the Ombudsman so the case of Duterte’s unexplained wealth would remain uninvestigated," she has said.
She has claimed Carpio is Duterte's co-depositor in a bank account, showing deposits exceeding at least P100 million not reported in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth when she was vice mayor, a violation of the law.
Panelo accused Tordesillas, as a columnist, is a "vocal sympathizer" of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and the Magdalo cause and staunch critic of the President and his administration.
"It is a no brainer that a biased journalist or columnist like Ms. Tordesillas would regularly come up with conjectures inimical to the President. That is what we call black propaganda," he said.
Trillanes was one of those who went to the Netherlands to back up the complaint filed against Duterte before the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity due to his bloody war on drugs.
He also accused Duterte and Carpio of having a joint bank account containing billions of pesos. The father and daughter denied the allegation.
Panelo, however, said Duterte respects freedom of expression.
"His record of not filing any libel case against any member of the media in his more than forty years as a public servant is res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself)," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS