Duterte willing to face probe

For killings linked to his war on drugs

Malacañang reiterated  yesterday that President Rodrigo Duterte is willing to be investigated by anybody in connection with the  spate of killings being linked to his  war on drugs.

The Palace reacted to statements of International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who expressed concern on the increasing number of drug-related killings in the Philippines.
   
Bensouda warned that “any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing... to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable for prosecution before the court.”
   
Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said in his  press statement that  Duterte is open to any investigation.
   
“In any case, the President has articulated that he is willing to submit himself for an investigation before anybody,”  Andanar said.
   
Duterte has sent a formal invitation to United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard to visit the Philippines and investigate his war on drugs, on the condition that he should be allowed to ask the UN investigators questions in return.
   
In his statement, Andanar stressed that the drug-related killings in the country were not state-sanctioned, while many of those who died were part of legitimate police work.
   
“Drug-related killings, including vigilante killings, are not State-sanctioned.  Many of those who died were killed during legitimate police operations which are currently undergoing investigation as directed by the President,” he said.
   
Andanar also said that even the Senate committee on justice and human rights, headed by Senator Richard Gordon, concluded that there was no proof to link the drug-related deaths to the government.
   
Meanwhile, President Duterte is confident that he will finish his six-year term despite criticism against him on extrajudicial killings and coup threats.
   
The President said in his speech before local folks in Batanes whom he visited yesterday that he was predestined to become president.
   
“’Yan sa destiny ko, ’yan lang ang binigay ng Diyos sa akin... Paabutin ako six years, ah patay kayong lahat,” said the President, stressing his resolve to finish his war against drugs until the last addict and pusher is taken away.
   
“Ngayon itong law and order, sabihin ko sa inyo sabi ko walang corruption, walang droga, walang  kriminalidad. I will not stop, masiguro ninyo, itaga ninyo kung saan ninyo itaga ’yan. I will not stop until the last pusher, until the last drug lord is taken away,” the President said.
   
He said that his victory in the presidency still baffles him even as he remains unfazed with impeachment threats against him.
   
The President said that he had lacked the machinery during the elections and yet he won, pointing out that God gave him the presidency with the landslide margin of six million.
   
“Because I tend to believe now, that it was God who gave it to me,” he said.
   
He said that threats of impeachment does not worry him as he is risking his honor,his life and his presidency in his war against drugs.
   
In case he is ousted after a year or so, the President who is 71 years old, stressed that “ it still is part of my destiny.”