Trillanes, Alejano urge international court to look into Duterte's drug war

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 6) Two of the staunchest critics of President Rodrigo Duterte are urging the International Criminal Court (ICC) to immediately look into the administration's drug war.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano of the Magdalo Party List on Tuesday filed a supplemental communication to the one filed by lawyer Jude Sabio before the international court in The Hague, Netherlands.

"We further stress the urgent need to conduct a preliminary examination on the allegations contained herein to provide a glimmer of hope for the thousands of victims that Duterte's impunity would end soon," their letter to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said. 

The lawmakers said Duterte's proclamation of martial law in Mindanao on May 23 and its possible expansion nationwide signal the need for ICC's examination.

Read: Duterte declares martial law in Mindanao

Duterte also suspended the privilege of writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao following the terror crisis in Marawi.

Read: Duterte suspends privilege of writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao

"There is no doubt that with these recent developments, and with the multiple daily killings of drug suspects being a persistent and regular occurrence in the entire Philippines, there is now a more imperative and compelling need for the Office of the Prosecutor to immediately open a Preliminary Examination on these apparent crimes against humanity being perpetrated by the administration of President Duterte," the letter said further. 

Sabio charged Duterte with crimes against humanity for violating the treaty that created the ICC. He claimed mass murder is "repeatedly, unchangingly, and continuously" committed by Duterte as part of a systematic attack against civilians.

Continuing bloody drug war?

Trillanes and Alejano said extrajudicial killings against drug suspects continue despite Sabio's communication, which he filed last April 24.

Read: Lawyer asks international court to look into 'mass murder' in PH

PNP relaunched a "less bloody" Oplan Tokhang on March 6.

Read: PNP relaunches 'less bloody' Oplan Tokhang

The government said 3,027 drug suspects were killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to May 23, 2017.

Trillanes and Alejano said this is a cause for alarm.

"As to the gravity of the crimes alleged in all government admitted data, thousands have already died in Duterte's war on drugs. That fact alone speaks of the gravity of the case at hand," the letter said.

The legislators said the dismissal of the Senate hearings on the Davao Death Squad linking Duterte to killings when he was mayor of Davao City shows the upper chamber is unwilling to investigate crimes against humanity.

Read: Senate dismisses testimony of self-confessed death squad leader Lascañas

"Clearly, these developments show that the State is unwilling to even investigate the extrajudicial killings in the country and because of the president's immunity, unable to prosecute President Duterte," they noted. 

Alejano filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte in the House of Representatives, but this was dismissed in May.

Read: House formally dismisses Duterte's impeachment complaint

 

Actions Sabio asked

Sabio asked the ICC to conduct a preliminary and formal examinations the matter based on his complaint and reports of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on extrajudicial killings.

Related: Amnesty Int'l urges ASEAN leaders, PH gov't to act on 'bloodshed'