From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On Atty Jude Josue Sabio, lawyer of Mr. Edgardo Matobato, asking the International Criminal Court in The Hague to hold PRRD accountable for mass murder in the Philippines

The timing of the filing of the case is suspect – apparently meant to create negative news in the midst of the Philippines ASEAN debut; as it cannot prosper. 

International Criminal Court rules provide that the ICC, as a court of last resort, will only exercise jurisdiction over a case once legal remedies in the Philippines have been exhausted.

Atty. Sabio or his client, Mr. Edgardo Matobato, did not avail/exhaust all domestic remedies allowed under the Philippine Constitution.

Furthermore, an independent Senate investigated the charges hurled against the President with self-confessed hitman Mr. Matobato as star witness. As such, there is no unwillingness or inability on the part of the State to investigate and prosecute the President.

The so-called “Extrajudicial killings”, are not state-sanctioned or state-sponsored. Police authorities are conducting legitimate operations that require observance of operational protocols and those who breach procedures are made to answer before the law.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has an Internal Affairs Service (IAS) tasked to probe police accused of violating procedures. This body can suspend or dismiss PNP personnel based on violations incurred and can recommend the filing of criminal charges.

The intent of this filing in ICC is clearly to embarrass and shame the President, and undermine the duly constituted government of the Philippines. It is a cynical effort against the reform-oriented agenda of the Duterte Administration and of the betterment of the lives of the Filipino people.