February 18, 2018, 5:53 am
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Duterte: Drug war ends only when I step down

PRESIDENT Duterte yesterday said there is no stopping his war against illegal drugs which he said would only end once he steps down from office.

Speaking at the launch of the Malasakit Program at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, Duterte said his campaign against illegal drugs would continue despite the preliminary examinations the International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to hold in connection with alleged human rights violations and extra judicial killings attributed to his war against drugs.

“I’d like to address myself to the International Court of Justice and to the prosecutors coming here to investigate me. The war or the drive against drugs will not stop and it will last until the day I step out. If I go to prison, I go to prison. If you want to execute me, look for a country that allows prisoners to be executed by a firing squad,” Duterte said.

He reaffirmed his commitment to address the drug problem in the country, reiterating that threatening the drug suspects is not a crime.

Lawyer Jude Sabio filed last year a complaint against Duterte before the ICC in connection with the war against illegal drugs. The ICC last week announced that it is set to conduct a preliminary examination. 

The preliminary examination determines if there is basis to conduct a formal investigation into the allegations.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Duterte government has no reason to think or wish something ill against Sabio.

Roque said if it is true that Sabio is receiving death threats following the ICCs’ decision to start its preliminary examination of the communication that he filed, he should report it to the police.

“We don’t put much important to the complaint. We have no–we have no ill will against him. We know it will not proceed beyond preliminary examination. Let’s make sure that if there’s a threat he should report it to the police. If there’s a threat go file a writ of amparo, that’s the remedy,” he said.

The Liberal Party yesterday said Duterte’s self-description as a dictator could be ominous of worse things that may come.

The LP said in a statement they believe Duterte when he said he is a dictator, a statement Akbayan Party-list Sen. Risa Hontiveros said could incriminate him on criminal charges filed before the ICC.

“He does what he says, like the numerous times he said he wanted to impose martial law long before he actually did so in Mindanao, his threats against media, his jailing of Senator Leila de Lima, and the silencing of those who disagree with him,” it said.

“All these are portent of worse things to come. Fear and control of information are ways to keep people in a tight grip,” it added.

Hontiveros said: “I am sure that the ICC is taking due notice of the President’s latest statement, especially as it conducts its preliminary examination into his alleged crimes. – With JP Lopez
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