Duterte to Chinese official: PH gov't had no hand in ICC case vs. Xi

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 28) — President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed a ranking Chinese official during a courtesy call in Davao City Wednesday.

Song Tao, Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC) Central Committee, along with other delegates from China met with the President at the Matina Enclaves.

According to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Duterte and Song discussed "issues that would further strengthen the relationship between the two countries," as well as matters of mutual interest including the West Philippine Sea.

During the meeting, the President clarified his administration had no hand in the recent filing of a case by former government officials against Chinese President Xi Jinping at the International Criminal Court.

Duterte, however, clarified the Philippines is a democracy and therefore "cannot stop people from just filing cases."

It was unclear how Song responded to the President's statement. No further details on the meeting have been released.

RELATED: Palace backs 'political motive' claim behind ex-officials' ICC complaint vs. China 

Last week, former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales filed a communication before the International Criminal Court outlining the crimes Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials supposedly committed in their "systematic plan to control" the South China Sea.

After learning of the filing, Duterte said both former officials were "entitled" to file the case.

"They are Filipino citizens. And I think we just also have to defend our position vis-a-vis sa kanila. They think they have a good case, and I would say that there is no jurisdiction over this country and of China. Mas lalo na sa [Especially with] China. We will just go along that line," he said.

However, the President added whether the case would prosper or not was a different matter.