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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

PNP chief Azurin Jr. tells ICC: Respect Philippine sovereignty, justice system

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National Police chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to respect the country’s sovereignty, as he assured that the Philippine justice system is working and could fully handle claims of abuses in relation to the war against illegal drugs.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) chief issued the call during a news briefing on Monday as he responded to the decision of the ICC to resume its investigation into deaths associated with the government’s anti-drug campaign during the term of former President Rodrigo R. Duterte where thousands were reportedly killed.

“The PNP encourages the ICC to respect the Philippines sovereignty and acknowledge the capacity of the Philippines’ judicial system,” Azurin stressed.

Rights groups and various organizations alleged that thousands of Filipinos were killed in Duterte’s war against illegal drugs, which was carried out under former PNP chief now Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

Azurin said the PNP has always maintained that the country has a “robust, efficient and functioning criminal justice system with active legal proceedings and remedies available to address any claims of human rights abuses in the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.”

“This is evidenced by ongoing investigations on all drug-related deaths and cases of successful prosecution of some government personnel involved in related crimes,” he said.

In deciding to continue its probe, the ICC said it was not fully convinced that the government was undertaking “relevant investigations that would warrant a deferral of the Court’s investigations based on the complementarity principle.”

However, Azurin said the filing of cases against some policemen in relation to the anti-drugs campaign was proof that the justice system is working.

“There are administrative cases being handled by the PNP Internal Affairs Service and drug cases filed in court against drug personalities that rightfully describe the active stance of the PNP in addressing the drug problem in the country and at the same time internal discipline issues within the organization,” he said.

The PNP chief also said they are also fully cooperating with the Department of Justice in reviewing cases involving police personnel found liable for lapses on police operational procedures in anti-illegal drugs operations.

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