Former President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday insisted that there was nothing illegal with his proposal for Mindanao to secede from the Philippines.

In an interview with Atty. Salvador Panelo, Duterte said his proposal to secede doesn’t mean going to war.

“[My proposal] is a legal process that will be brought to the United Nations [akin to that of] Timor Leste,” Duterte said.

“They thought if you want to secede, it’s going to be a war. No. We are going to do it the legal way,” he added

Told that secession was against the 1987 Constitution, Duterte said, “It is not against the Constitution. It is outside the Constitution. Mag-secede ka nga e.”

“It is based on the right of a free will of determination of the people,” Duterte said.

During the interview on dzRJ, Duterte said that he was not calling for the ouster of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., whom he called a drug addict at a rally in Davao City weeks ago.

He indicated that his only issue with the President was his moves towards Charter change.

Marcos at the observation of “Constitution Day 2024” in Makati City said the call to separate Mindanao was “doomed to fail, for it is anchored on false premise not to mention a sheer constitutional travesty.”

“I strongly appeal to all concerned to stop this call for a separate Mindanao. This is a grave violation of the constitution,” Marcos said.

ICC probe

In the same radio interview, Duterte said he would not allow himself to be arrested alive in connection with the International Criminal Court’s investigation on the killings attributed to his war on drugs.

“Hindi nila ako mahuhuli talaga. Mahuhuli nila ako patay. Gusto man nila magtangaka pumasok, unahin ko sila muna. Ilan ba sila? Kayong mga sundalo tumabi muna kayo kasi hindi niyo naman ito away e,” Duterte said.

“Wala namang jurisdiction ‘yang pumapasok na ‘yan e. Walang basis. Ano ang otoridad nila to come in and arrest people? Wala… ‘Pag puntahan nila ako arestuhin nila ako dito, magkabarilan talaga ‘yan. At uubusin ko ‘yang mga p— ina na yan,” he added.

On Wednesday, the PNP said it would not enforce a possible arrest warrant issued by the ICC against Duterte due to a “question of jurisdiction.”

Marcos previously said that he does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC in the Philippines, adding that he considered it a threat to Philippine sovereignty.

The President also reiterated that the government will not help any investigation that the ICC, which seeks to probe the Duterte administration’s drug war, will conduct.

Arrest warrant

Earlier, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said the ICC may issue a warrant against any Philippine official, but its enforcement was another matter.

Guevarra said the PNP’s refusal to enforce a warrant of arrest issued by the ICC wa only in obedience to the President’s directive.

“The PNP and other law enforcement officers are the only persons authorized to serve warrants of arrest in Philippine territory,” Guevarra told GMA News Online.

“The PNP’s statement that it will not enforce any warrant that may be issued by the ICC is simply in obedience to the directive of the president who exercises control over the executive department, including the national police,” he added. —NB/RSJ, GMA Integrated News