After announcing plans to retire from politics over the weekend, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he was working on his defense for the crimes against humanity case filed against him in the International Criminal Court.
Duterte, in his weekly late-night Cabinet meeting, said he would return to his hometown Davao City after his presidency and prepare his defense for possible charges against him.
"Hintayin ko kayo. I will prepare for my defense na 'yung ICC na 'yan pati 'yung anong... Huwag lang kayong magsinungaling. Kung totoo lang tutal may record naman. Huwag kayong mag-imbento na 'yung namatay ng malaria diyan pati --- icha-charge ninyo sa akin. Kalokohan na 'yan. Hindi na justice ang hinahanap ninyo niyan," the President said.
The 76-year-old leader reiterated his promise to police officers involved in the drug war killings that he would take responsibility for them as long as they "obey the law."
"Hindi ba sinabi ko, anything na ginawa ninyo in the prosecution of the drug war for as long as you obey the law, I will protect you, akin 'yan, akin, hindi inyo. Ako ang sasagot niyan..." Duterte said.
The ICC in September authorized a full investigation into Duterte's bloody war on drugs, a move that Malacañang condemned. ICC judges said there was a "reasonable basis" to believe that the crime against humanity of murder had been committed in the crackdown, which has left some 6,000 people dead as of July 2021.
Duterte's government has repeatedly said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines, citing Manila's exit from the Hague-based court in 2019--the same year the international tribunal launched a preliminary investigation on Duterte's drug war.
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