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TURNING POINT: Is the Wheel of Justice in Motion?

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 10 January)—The information attributed to Harry Roque, former spokesperson of Ex-President Rodrigo Duterte, that the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors are already here in the Philippines and have started their investigation on Duterte’s catastrophic drug war, has apparently scared the shit out of Senator Bato de la Rosa.

Bato said he is holding on to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s “solid as rock” assurance that the ICC’s investigators will not be able to enter the Philippines.

In a virtual interview with reporters, Dela Rosa said the President made the assurance during a dinner he hosted for senators in Malacañang last November 28. Marcos also assured him, accordingly, the same in the heat of the campaign of the 2022 presidential election.

Roque’s info on the ICC has apparently started to make a crack on the rock. Bato has all the reasons to worry being the architect of “Tokhang,” the notorious strategy of the Duterte war on drug that wasted the lives of thousands via extra judicial killing of suspected drug personalities. Now both Duterte and him are wanted by the ICC for their crimes against humanity.

The ICC prosecutors wouldn’t be around without the permission of the government, that is, without the blessing of President Marcos. The recent quake in political alliances might have changed things if, indeed, the ICC is now here.

Bato said he had to face the music if the government had allowed it.

But Vice President Sara Duterte is defiant, clearly defending his beleaguered father, saying last November that allowing the ICC to probe any alleged crime in the Philippines is unconstitutional.

But some lawmakers and groups believe otherwise. They have sounded the call for the Philippine government to comply with the resumption of the ICC’s investigation to serve justice to the victims of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

This came after the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber gave last year its go-ahead to the bid of ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan to resume the probe into Duterte’s drug war and the Davao Death Squad killings.

If the ICC prosecutors are now around then the ties that bind are clearly broken. Indeed, the wheel of justice grinds slowly but is, nonetheless, continuously grinding.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)

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