Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa (Senate PRIB Photo)
Is the House of Representatives using the International Criminal Court (ICC) to silence Vice President Sara Duterte and her father, former president Rodrigo Duterte?
Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said this is what people are asking after the Lower House presented a resolution urging President Marcos to work with the ICC in the investigation into the alleged brutal war on drugs launched by the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte.
Dela Rosa, who was the chief implementer of the Duterte’s campaign against illegal drug said he believes some members in the House “are being encouraged to file” probably to “silence the Dutertes” noting that it took them one and a half years before they decided to do so.
“The timing is very questionable. Kung kelan meron gusot between the HOR and the Dutertes, bakit lumabas itong mga resolution na ito (Just when there is a supposed rift between the HOR and the Dutertes, why did this resolution suddenly surfaced)?” Dela Rosa pointed out in an interview on Radio DZBB on Sunday, November 26.
“Ang taumbayan nagtatanong (the people are asking): are they weaponizing the ICC in order to silence the Dutertes? Ganun ang magiging tanong ng mga taombayan dyan (That’s going to be the question of the people now). Are they using the ICC to silence the Dutertes? Marami akong naririnig na ganun ha (I have heard it asked) and I’m just re-echoing what we have heard. It’s not coming from me. It’s coming from the people,” the senator claimed.
Dela Rosa said that while respects the House lawmakers’ prerogative to file such resolutions, it doesn’t mean he agrees with what they are doing.
“I don’t want to state the obvious. You see the obvious, you feel the obvious, you say the obvious…it doesn’t have to come from me,” he said.
“Meron tayong (we have) interparliamentary courtesy. I respect what they are doing. But although I respect what they are doing, it doesn’t mean that I agree with what they are doing. Respeto lang (just respect), but it doesn’t mean that we agree .. but I respect mga processes na ginagawa nila diyan (the processes that they are doing),” he further said.
Nevertheless, he said that any plans for the Philippines to return to the ICC fold would not be automatic, which President Marcos had earlier said is now being studied.
“Hiwalay na issue yan eh (that’s a separate issue) rejoining at saka (and) allowing. Rejoining is not a prerequisite to allowing, di ba? And allowing does not mean also that we are rejoining. (That’s) two separate action. So ihiwalay natin yan (So let’s separate that),” he explained.
But should the House approve the resolution on third and final reading, the senator said he believes they still have many members who are independent-minded.
“And as what President Marcos, said in an interview, it’s only the sense of the House, that they’re just expressing the sense that they want,” he pointed out.
He also recalled that the reason why then President Duterte decided to withdraw the Philippines from the ICC was because he wanted other nations to respect the internal affairs of the government, which he observes the Marcos administration has also agreed to do.
“And to be very fair, we have a working democracy and we have a strong justice system. So dapat wag silang makialam dito (They should not interfere with us),” he said.
“So kung babalik tayo, di ba tayo natuto na? Babalik tayo? Ayaw na natin tapos babalik na naman tayo (So if we return, haven’t we learned our lesson? We will still return? We’ve rejected it and yet we will return to it again)?”
“But just in case we do decide to return, hindi ganun kadali (it won’t be easy). It will take a process. Kung papasok ang Pilipinas, mag-rejoin (If Philippines will rejoin), then ratified by the President, then it will go through a process—our constitutional process,” explained Dela Rosa, a known ally of the Dutertes.
“Dadaan yan sa Senado for concurrence. At pagdating sa Senado, mag-debate niyan. Di tayo makasiguro kung ganun pa din ang outcome (It will need the Senate’s concurrence. But when it is referred to the Senate, a debate will ensue among senators. We are not sure if the outcome would still be the same),” he pointed out.
The filing of House Resolution No. 1477, authored by House Human Rights panel chairperson Bienvenido Abante Jr. and 1-Rider Party-list Rep. Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez, and another similar resolution filed by the Makabayan bloc, came about after the “political bickering” between Vice President Sara and the House leadership, particularly Speaker Martin Romualdez.
This was evident after the House leadership decided to strip the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd) of any confidential funds under the proposed P5.768-trillion national budget for 2024. Both agencies are under the control of Sara Duterte.
In defense of his daughter, the former chief executive lashed at Romualdez in a televised interview over SMNI News Channel. The former leader also accused Romualdez of conspiring with communists as he plans to run for President.