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Bishops hit Duterte’s withdrawal from ICC

Bishops hit Duterte’s withdrawal from ICC

Nuns attend Mass during the “Walk for Life” in Manila on Feb. 24 to protest drug-related killings in the country. CBCPNews

By Roy Lagarde

March 15, 2018

MANILA, Philippines

The Philippine government’s intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) provides strong basis for investigation into its ruthless war on drugs, Catholic bishops said.

The withdrawal comes about a month after the court opened an investigation into the alleged extrajudicial killings and other atrocities committed under President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on illegal narcotics trade.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the country’s commitment to human rights in the international community cannot just be set aside by the President alone.

“This shows that there is basis for the investigation on him,” Pabillo said. “They are afraid of accountabilities. Duterte should be investigated.”

Duterte yesterday said the country will withdraw from the ICC, accusing it and the United Nations of bias and violating due process and constitutional presumption of innocence.

But for the bishop, it’s clearly an attempt to evade liability.

“The Philippines is not Duterte,” he said.

Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, for his part, said Duterte’s action is a sign that he’s afraid of a “possible conviction”.

“His withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the ICC is an act of cowardice, which makes his name more infamous,” he said.