MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang maintained its stand in defense of President Rodrigo Duterte amid criticisms over the President’s remark on extrajudicial killings (EJK).
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque lambasted former College of Law Dean Atty. Antonio La Viña who claimed that Duterte’s statement was indeed an “admission of guilt” and a culpable violation of the Constitution.
La Viña added that the President’s EJK statement could be a basis for impeachment and can be used as evidence against him in the case filed at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
But Roque believes otherwise.
He dared the lawyer to begin the challenge by the filing of an impeachment complaint against Duterte.
“Let him start, he cannot vote because he is not a member of Congress and I’m sure it will also be dismissed by Congress not because it’s a political process but because it’s utterly bereft of merit,” Roque said.
The Presidential mouthpiece stressed that the President’s remarks cannot be considered an admission because he did not directly mention he killed someone.
Roque added that there was no such crime as extrajudicial killing in the Philippines or in the international law.
“I’d like to emphasize that there is actually no crime under both domestic or international law as EJK. in fact, this is a misleading term because killing in our constitution and in our laws is never legal so there is no such thing as extrajudicial killings. It’s either lawful killing or unlawful killing,” he explained.
Roque also noted that the EJK statement is in no way can be used as evidence to back up the complaint against President Duterte in the ICC because the international tribunal has no pending investigation in the Philippines.
He added that being a lawyer himself, he would not allow the ICC to meddle with the country’s judicial system which, Roque said, is actively functioning. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)