cdn mobile

Man up on ICC probers’ visit, says dela Rosa to Malacañang

By: Marlon Ramos - Philippine Daily Inquirer | January 23,2024 - 08:31 AM

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa urged Malacañang to be truthful about the reported arrival in the country of investigators from the International Criminal Court (ICC), as disclosed by former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who also claimed that former President Rodrigo Duterte would be ordered arrested “very, very soon.”

“What I am asking from this government is to be man enough to please tell us what’s the real score. Just inform us,” Dela Rosa said in a news conference on Monday.

“Let’s be frank. Let’s talk man to man. If you want us to be investigated and get imprisoned, then tell it to our face. Don’t tell us one thing while doing another thing behind our backs,” he said.

He also made the same appeal to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who had personally assured the senator just two weeks ago that his administration would not allow probers from The Hague-based court to enter the country.

“You are our President. You are our leader. Tell us so we know what to do,” he said.

Asked if he would be displeased if the President changed his previous position against the ICC probe, he said: “I will cross the bridge when I get there. I cannot say that I will take it against him.”

As for the government’s apparent change in policy on the matter, he said it only validated the “saying that there’s no forever.”

“There’s no forever,” Dela Rosa stressed with a sly smile.


Known for his long-standing relations with Duterte as one of his most trusted security aides, Dela Rosa oversaw the former president’s bloody drug war as the first Philippine National Police chief of his administration, serving in that capacity from 2016 to 2018.

Due to his primary role in Duterte’s take-no-prisoners antinarcotics campaign, he was named together with his former boss as principal respondents in the complaint for crimes against humanity filed in the ICC in 2017 by lawyer Jude Josue Sabio.

According to Dela Rosa, he has yet to receive an official communication from the ICC regarding an investigation here last December.

He said he also did not get any information from his associates in the PNP that foreign investigators were recently in the country to look into the drug war killings.

Instead, he said he heard “rumors” from some members of the media “confirming” Trillanes’ claim.

“They said the [ICC investigators] even stayed in Boracay,” Dela Rosa said, referring to the world-famous resort destination in Aklan province.

READ: Sen. Risa Hontiveros urges Palace to work with ICC in a resolution

‘Very partial investigation’

For the senator, the ICC investigators carried out a “very partial investigation,” if they had, indeed, already concluded their inquiry without asking for his sworn statement as a respondent.

“If that very partial investigation will lead to the issuance of a warrant of arrest, then it is up to our government if it will implement the warrant,” he said.

Dela Rosa said he would still cooperate with the ICC if the government would decide to take part in its investigation.

He also emphasized that he would continue to support the Marcos administration “through and through” and would remain an ally of the President.

“If the President says we will cooperate, then I will cooperate [with the ICC]. I’m only a citizen of this Republic… so I will obey,” he said.

On Sunday, Trillanes said he received “inside information” that ICC probers had arrived in the country last month and had “done what they needed to do in their initial investigation inside the country as far as the principal accused are concerned.”

“If they will come back, this will be for the purpose of obtaining enough evidence for the secondary level of accused or respondents,” the former senator said.

“For the primary respondents of the case, I believe they already have what they need. What we are waiting for right now is the warrant of arrest, which may come very, very soon,” he said.

According to Trillanes, the ICC may issue the arrest warrant on Duterte and Dela Rosa “within the first half of the year.”

‘Bereft of jurisdiction’

Sought for comment on Sunday, Duterte’s former spokesperson Harry Roque, and former chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo both asserted that the ICC had no jurisdiction over the country.

“The preliminary investigation was authorized long after our withdrawal had come into effect. Court is thus bereft of jurisdiction,” Roque said.

The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, the ICC’s legal foundation, in 2018. This took effect a year later. The ICC’s preliminary investigation began in 2021.

Panelo agreed with Roque, adding that the Rome Statute was “never… enforceable for lack of the requisite publication in the Official Gazette,” the government’s public journal.

READ: VP Sara Duterte says any ICC probe in PH is ‘patently unconstitutional’

“There is no validation from the government that the ICC probers have set foot in the country. It’s pure chismis (gossip). It’s fake news,” Panelo also said.

He further branded Trillanes’ statements as “his attempt at resurfacing from oblivion.”

“The renegade rebel’s thoughts and narratives on the ICC probers’ alleged investigation and completion of evidence against [Duterte] are irrelevant, apart from being purely speculative,” Panelo said.

“Even assuming that they [were] here, they cannot pluck out evidence from nothing. Hearsay and speculations are not evidence,” he added.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: Ronald Dela Rosa

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.