Duterte says war on drugs to continue despite ICC’s move

MANILA (Xinhua) – The ongoing war on illicit drugs in the Philippines will continue despite efforts of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to conduct a ‘preliminary examination’ on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.

In a speech late Monday night, Duterte said he has no plan to stop the campaign, saying the drug problem in the Philippines is way too serious. “The war or the drive against drugs will not stop and it will last until the day I step out,” he said.

Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque announced last week that the ICC is moving to conduct a “preliminary examination” on Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.

Roque said that the Philippine mission in The Hague was informed by the ICC’s prosecutor office that the court is “opening preliminary investigation on the alleged acts associated in the campaign against illegal drugs covering the period of July 2016.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. – AP

However, Roque reiterated that “the preliminary examination is not a formal preliminary investigation,” but is merely a procedure conducted by the ICC to determine whether the case falls under its jurisdiction.

He explained that “the preliminary examination is only to determine if there is reasonable basis to proceed to a preliminary investigation.”

Roque said the administration views the ICC’s preliminary examination as a “waste of the court’s time and resources” since the criteria to establish jurisdiction were not met.