Detained senator Leila De Lima opined that the world of then president Rodrigo “Digong” Roa Duterte (Duterte) and incumbent senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa (de la Rosa) is getting smaller. This, after the United Nation’s International Criminal Court (ICC) denied the motion filed by the aforenamed officials to bar the investigating team from proceeding with the probe of the bloody war on drugs. With the denial of the motion to halt the probe, there is no impediment for the ICC to prosecute the supposed culprits of that bloody drug war in the country.

But the Marcos administration through its Secretary of Justice (SOJ) Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla (Remulla) is hell bent to defend Duterte and de la Rosa by invoking the country’s sovereignty, arguing that the ICC has no right to interfere in our country’s internal affairs. He raises his own story that the administration’s justice system is working and there is no need for the ICC to interfere with our courts. He further claims that the justice department under his power is conducting investigation of the alleged bloody war on drugs.

Unfortunately, the tale of SOJ Remulla is a fallacious narrative if people would follow the actions done by the justice department insofar as the investigation of the war on drugs is concerned. Thus far, there are no clear results of such investigation and the claim that there would be findings on those involved in the war on drugs remains unseen. Of the reported over 7,742 victims of the war on drugs based on the Resource Library of the Armed Conflict and Location Data (ACLED), only two convictions had been won, chiefly on the strong relentless efforts of the victims’ families as well as religious and civil society groups.

With such outcome of SOJ’s Boying claimed investigation, the former ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensoda announced that there was “a reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder” had been committed in the war on drugs carried out under the government of President Rodrigo Duterte. She further urged the ICC to open-up a full-scale investigation into the bloody crackdown between July 1, 2016 when he assumed office until March 16, 2019 when the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC took effect.

The investigation is set to proceed under ICC chief prosecutor Karim Asad Ahmed Khan KC, a British lawyer specializing in international criminal law and human rights law who has served as prosecutor of the ICC since 2023. The investigation had been labelled as an interference on our country’s internal affairs according to SOJ Remulla, adding that their coming into the country is not welcome and would result in a mess.

Peace loving people seeking justice would hope that the investigation will proceed to an acceptable conclusion and the justice department would not make it a mess.
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