Vice President Sara Duterte on Thursday denied orchestrating “Oplan Tokhang” in Davao City during her term as mayor as accused by former Davao policeman Arturo Lascañas.

In a video message, Duterte said her name is being dragged into the issue so that she will be included in the investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the extrajudicial killings being linked to her father, former President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Bago ang script na ito. Sa mga taon na nagsilbi ako bilang vice mayor at mayor ng Davao City, ni minsan ay hindi naugnay ang aking pangalan sa isyung ito,” Vice President Duterte said.

“Maliban sa tiyempo, malinaw na sadyang pinilit lang na maidugtong ang pangalan ko sa isyung ito para ako maging akusado sa ICC,” she added.

(This is a new script. In all the years I served as vice mayor and mayor of Davao City, not once was my name linked to this issue. Aside from the timing, it is clear that I am being linked to this issue to that I will become an accused before the ICC.)

Vice President Duterte then dared those implicating her in the drug war killings to file a murder case against her in the Philippines.

“Wala na itong debate — sa testigo at mga tao na nakapalikod sa kanya, mag-file kayo ng kasong murder laban sa akin dito sa Pilipinas.”

(Let’s not debate. To the one testifying and all the people behind him, file a murder case against me here in the Philippines.)

Lascañas, who spoke to the media from an undisclosed location overseas on Wednesday, is an alleged member of the original Davao Death Squad (DDS), which supposedly carried out the killings. He said he submitted a 186-page affidavit to the ICCcontaining information on the alleged killings perpetrated by former President Duterte and the involvement of Sara in the extrajudicial killings in Davao City.

“Siya nga ang pasimuno nitong Oplan Tokhang nung naka-upo siya as mayor nung 2012 in-appoint nya si Bato Dela Rosa as chief of police ng Davao City,” said Lascañas, referring to now Senator Ronald dela Rosa.

(She initiated Oplan Tokhang when she was mayor in 2012. She appointed Bato dela Rosa as chief of police in Davao City.)

Sara Duterte earlier said she will only face any accusations linking her to the Davao Death Squad before a Philippine court, lamenting that it was only when she was elected vice president that her name was being associated with the controversial group.

“Haharapin ko ang anumang akusasyon laban sa akin [I will face any accusation against me]. But I will only face any charge against me before a Filipino judge—and only before a Filipino court,” she said.

This is the same assertion her father made regarding the prospect of being tried before the ICC.

The scope of the ICC probe were killings that transpired from November 2011 until March 2019, including those killings made by Davao Death Squad when the elder Duterte was still the mayor of Davao City before assuming presidency in June 2016. —KBK, GMA Integrated News