Duterte to prepare his ICC defense once he steps down

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 5, 2021   •   245

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (October 4) said he will prepare his defense for the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation after he steps down from office.

The Chief Executive made the statement during his regular public address on Monday night. He also appealed to the ICC and investigators not to lie and fabricate evidence.

Sa maraming dada ng dada ng kaso, hintayin ko kayo. I will prepare for my defense na iyong ICC na iyan. Huwag lang kayong magsinungaling(To those who keep bringing up the case, I will prepare my defense for the ICC. Just don’t lie.)” he said.

Hindi ko kayo tinatakot, huwag niyo ako dayain sa ebidensiya, (I am not intimidating you, just do not fabricate evidence against me),” the president added.

Duterte once again assured policemen and other local authorities of his protection as long as they obey the law.

Meanwhile, the president maintained his stand that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines.

May sarili kaming judicial system dito. Huwag kayong makialam. At saka sinabi ko (We have our own judicial system. Do not interfere. And I did say) you never acquired jurisdiction over my person,” Duterte said. AAC

 

Philippines, Japan renew strategic ties

Maris Federez   •   November 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday renewed their commitment to strengthen the strategic relations between the Philippines and Japan.

In a press statement, the Office of the President (OP) said the two leaders renewed their commitment through a telephone conversation on Wednesday (November 17).

“The phone call between Duterte and Kishida came a week after the latter was re-elected as Japan’s prime minister by parliament,” the Palace said.

President Duterte congratulated Prime Minister Kishida on his election and the Government of Japan on the success of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games, Malacañang said.

“The President also recalled Prime Minister Kishida’s visit in Davao in August 2016 when the latter paid a courtesy call as Foreign Minister of Japan. Prime Minister Kishida was the first Foreign Minister received by President Duterte,” it added.

The Palace further said that Duterte and Kishida agreed to undertake an exchange of visits “at a mutually agreed time to further reaffirm the Philippines-Japan partnership and personal friendship.”

“They likewise exchanged views on regional developments and multilateral issues, including the South China Sea issue, the situation in Myanmar and the Korean Peninsula, and non-proliferation,” it added.

Duterte also acknowledged how Japan has been “indeed a friend closer than a brother” after it sent assistance in the Philippines’ coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic response and recovery efforts.

The President also thanked Japan for supporting the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program, the peace process and grassroots development in Mindanao, and the ongoing transition process of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“Japan is unrivaled among our bilateral partners,” Duterte told Kishida.

The Palace said Duterte also informed Kishida that he is looking forward to the successful implementation of projects and activities aimed at enhancing the Philippines’ cooperation with Japan in the field of maritime security, particularly in maritime domain awareness, maritime connectivity, and preservation of the marine environment.

On his part, Kishida acknowledged that the Philippines-Japan relations “have indeed reached its golden age under President Duterte’s administration.”

The Japanese official gave his commitment that “Japan will continue supporting the Philippines’ peace and development agenda in Mindanao, ‘Build, Build, Build’ program and efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The OP further said that Kishida “conveyed his government’s readiness to further strengthen Japan’s partnership in maritime security by supporting the upgrading of the Philippines’ maritime law enforcement capabilities.”

“President Duterte and Prime Minister Kishida agreed that it is high time for the Philippines and Japan to pursue deeper security engagement and coordination by launching a Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting or 2+2 meeting,” Malacañang said.

“The Philippines and Japan celebrate two milestones this year — 65 years of normalized diplomatic relations and 10 years of Strengthened Strategic Partnership,” the Palace said. —/mbmf

Go belies allegation of controlling Duterte

Maris Federez   •   November 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go has belied the allegation of retired Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade, Jr. that he is controlling the decisions of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement released Monday (November 15), Go averred that President Duterte himself said that no one is controlling him.

“Nasagot na mismo ni Pangulong Duterte na walang nagko-kontrol sa kanya,” Go said.

“Siya mismo ang nagsabi na hindi naman siya magiging pangulo kung pinapaikot lang siya ng ibang tao.  Tanging siya ang gumagawa ng kanyang magagandang desisyon at tumutulong lang ako mula pa noon,” he added.

Go insists that the president makes his own decision and that he is just there to help as the chief executive’s assistant for more than two decades.

He further said that members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) can attest on how he helped in the implementation of the President’s decision, particularly in the salary increases of uniformed personnel.

“Tanungin natin ang mga kasama niya sa AFP, PNP, etc.  Alam nila kung paano ako tumulong na maipatupad ang desisyon na ito ni Pangulong Duterte para sa kapakanan ng mga sundalo, pulis, bumbero at iba pa.”

Go said that he’d rather not dwell on the issue as he respects Parlade.

“Ayaw ko nang makipagsagutan kay Gen. Parlade dahil nirerespeto ko siya. Sa katunayan, isa rin ako sa nagrekomenda na maging undersecretary siya. Alam naman nila ang katotohanan. Mainit na ang pulitika. Pero hayaan natin ang taumbayan ang humusga.”

Parlade, on Monday, filed his certificate of candidacy as a substitute candidate for president, going against Go for the presidential seat in the 2022 national and local elections. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Duterte: Employers have legal right to refuse unvaxxed applicants

Maris Federez   •   November 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte stood in defense of employers saying they have the right to refuse to hire unvaccinated applicants amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The president believes employers are just protecting their businesses and other people against the threat of the infectious disease.

“You have the right to refuse or to accept as an employee somebody who is not vaccinated and will go and join the rest of employees and the factory or the place or whatever you have as your business [then] this guy would start to contaminate everybody,” Duterte said in his weekly address, Talk to the People, aired Tuesday night.

“I think it’s legal for the employers not to accept people who are not vaccinated. Tama sila (They are right). I agree with them,” he also said.

However, the President clarified that it would be illegal to fire employees who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Kung nandiyan ka na sa trabaho mo at ayaw mong magpabakuna, well, that is too bad for the employer. Sabi ng mga labor lawyers, hindi puwede ‘yang paalisin mo kung ayaw magpabakuna. That would be a violation of the law, and I think I agree with it,” he said.

Duterte has also ordered the speeding up of the vaccination program and exerting all means to achieve population protection before the end of the year.

He tapped the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for this task.

The president further encouraged the public to grab the chance to be protected from the disease, noting that vaccines would help lessen the severe impacts of the dreaded virus. —/mbmf

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