FACT CHECK: Marcos Jr.’s statement on ICC and drug war investigation vs Duterte needs context

Feb. 21, 2023
Screengrab from RTVM Facebook Live

CLAIM: President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. reiterated on February 18 that the police and judiciary in the Philippines have a “good system” in looking into the drug-related killings under former president Rodrigo Duterte, strengthening his stance against the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On the sidelines of the Philippine Military Academy alumni homecoming in Baguio City, Marcos told reporters: “I feel that we have in our police and our judiciary a good system. We do not need assistance from any outside entity.”

Marcos argued he cannot cooperate with the ICC for he “cannot see” what the jurisdiction of the tribunal is.

“The Philippines is a sovereign nation and we are not colonies anymore of these former imperialists,” he said, adding “(T)hat is not something we consider to be a legitimate judgment. Until those questions of jurisdiction and the effects on the sovereignty of the republic, I cannot cooperate with them.”

RATING: Lacks context


In authorizing the resumption of the investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed in Duterte’s drug war campaign, the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber said in January that it has found the domestic investigations done by the Philippine government insufficient.

The ICC intends “to complement, not to replace” national courts. It only intervenes when a State is unable or unwilling to genuinely carry out the investigation and prosecute those responsible for international crimes.

The Pre-Trial Chamber found that the Philippines only investigated “low-ranking” police officers and that it does not contest the ICC prosecution’s suggestion that it has failed to look into “any pattern of criminality or the systematic nature of crimes, or investigated individuals who would appear to be most responsible.”

The chamber wrote: “The domestic proceedings in the Philippines thus do not sufficiently mirror the expected scope of the court’s investigation, since they only address the physical, low-ranking perpetrators and at present do not extend to any high-ranking officials.”

The ICC’s investigation covers the alleged extrajudicial killings committed between July 1, 2016, when Duterte rose to power, and March 16, 2019, before the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute took effect. He is also being investigated for the “Davao Death Squad” killings when he was mayor of Davao City.

In its authorization request to open an investigation into drug-related crimes in the country in 2021, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor previously noted that the 2017 murder of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos is the only case that has proceeded to judgment.

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