Tolentino: ICC’s plan to conduct preliminary probe an intervention on the country’s regulation and jurisdiction

(Eagle News) — Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs Secretary Francis Tolentino on Monday, April 16 defended the remarks of President Rodrigo Duterte that he will arrest the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) if the latter will insist in going to the country.

In an interview with Net 25’s, “Sa Ganang Mamamayan,” Tolentino said the statement of the President to arrest the ICC official, Fatou Bensouda, has basis. He said that the ICC’s investigation will be an intervention on the Philippine National Police’s regulation and the country’s jurisdiction.

“Ang ICC po talagang nakabase po yan sa issue ng complementarities. Kung wala hong gumagalaw na investigating unit sa Pilipinas, walang hudikatura na kumikilos, saka lamang sila pwedeng pumasok,” Tolentino said

He noted that the Philippine judiciary and prosecution service is very much alive and working well.

“Buhay naman po ang ating prosecution service, buhay po ang ating hudikatura. Iyon po ang merong unang hurisdiksyon, Tolentino said.

He agreed with the President that the ICC’s preliminary investigation was an encroachment on the Philippine judiciary and law enforcement operations.

“Maliwanag po na talagang magiging panghihimasok ito, at siguro ito yung naging basehan ng ating mahal na Pangulong ng sabihin nya mali yung pumunta dito at pwede nyang ipaaaresto siya,” he added.
Duterte had earlier warned Fatou that she will be barred from entering the country.

“Kaya ikaw Ms. Fatou, ‘wag kang pumunta dito (Do not go here, Ms. Fatou) because I will bar you. Not because I am afraid of you, I said, because you will never have jurisdiction over my person, not in a million years,” Duterte said in a press briefing on Friday after his official visits to China and Hong Kong.

The ICC office of the Prosecutor expressed its desire to conduct a preliminary review on the government’s campaign against illegal drugs after Atty. Jude Sabio filed a communication with the ICC in April 2017.

The ICC is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that investigates cases of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.