Duterte welcomes U.S. national security adviser's threats vs ICC

MANILA, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte has found an ally in United States National Security Adviser John Bolton who, last September 10, threatened the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it would proceed with investigations into America's war crimes in Afghanistan or into any of its allies.

"The timely word of Bolton now is quite refreshing to us, lalo na ako ‘yung pinaka maingay (especially since I'm the loudest). Binastos ko sila, binabastos nila tayo eh (I was rude to them because they were rude to us)," said Duterte on Thursday, September 20.

He was speaking to government troops in Camp O'Donnel in Tarlac.

He welcomed Bolton's words as a means of putting "international pressure" on the war crimes tribunal, which is also currently examining if it has jurisdiction to investigate Duterte's controversial crackdown on illegal drugs.

The Philippine leader proudly told troops that he was the first head of government in recent times to call out the ICC.

"Tayo ‘yung una. Hindi lang ako pumayag, binullshit ko, sabi ko putangina ninyo (We were the first. I didn't let them, they bullshit us so I said, you sons of bitches),” said Duterte.

Bolton had called the ICC an "illegitimate court" that was "already dead." He threatened to impose sanctions on its judges and prosecutors, including banning them from US soil and prosecuting them in US courts.

Duterte, who faces two complaints filed with the ICC, withdrew the Philippines from the court in March.

Duterte, however, ordered the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC last March.

Minority senators have challenged the unilateral move before the Supreme Court, contending that concurrence of a majority of Senate is required before withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC.

But the outcome of the petition at the SC would have no bearing on the preliminary examination at the ICC. Article 127 of the Rome Statute, states that any investigation or criminal proceeding that started before the withdrawal takes effect would still continue. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.