Duterte Unlikely To Face Court Over Philippines Drug War Killings
Muhammad Irfan Published June 28, 2022 | 08:40 AM
Manila, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 28th Jun, 2022 ) :Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte often incited violence and ordered police to shoot dead suspects in a drug war that has killed thousands. But analysts say he is unlikely to face charges after he steps down Thursday.
Duterte's signature policy to rid the country of drugs has been widely condemned and sparked an international probe into a possible crime against humanity.
But the 77-year-old is still hugely popular among many in the Philippines who support his quick-fix solutions to crime, and he remains a potent political force.
"The election basically decided that there would not be a serious investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte's role in the drug war for the next six years," said Greg Wyatt, director for business intelligence at PSA Philippines Consultancy.
A self-professed killer, Duterte told officers to fatally shoot narcotics suspects if their lives were at risk.
Only three policemen have been convicted for slaying a drug suspect.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told AFP in October that a review of 52 cases had cast doubt on the officers' common claim of self-defence.
Charges have been filed in five cases.
But they admit the odds are stacked against them.
"We are not that hopeful but it's worth a shot," said Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers.
A major challenge to mounting a case against Duterte will be the Ombudsman he appointed, said jailed Duterte critic and Senator Leila de Lima.
"His clout with the present Ombudsman, the only official authorised to file charges against him in relation to the EJKs (extra-judicial killings), survives even after he leaves office," de Lima said in a statement to AFP.
The last hope for many families seeking justice is the ICC, said Carlos Conde, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.
It suspended the probe two months later, after Manila said it was looking into the alleged crimes.
"A lot of what they've been doing is just window dressing, they are just trying to buy time," he said.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan announced Friday that he intended to resume his probe into the drug war "as quickly as possible", saying Manila's request to defer the investigation was unjustified.
Duterte has refused to cooperate with The Hague-based court, claiming it has no jurisdiction.
Another option for justice was an "unofficial truth commission", said Ruben Carranza, a senior expert at the New York-based International Center for Transitional Justice.
Carranza, who was previously involved in efforts to recover money and assets stolen by the Marcoses, said it would allow families of drug war victims to tell their stories.
"In a country like the Philippines," he said, "I think it's important to fight for the truth whenever it's possible."