CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 October 2018

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Duterte’s Dirty Dozen named in International Criminal Court

MANILA (SE): Fear seems to be the name of the game in the hapless country of The Philippines, with the president, Rodrigo Duterte, running a relentless terror campaign in the guise of a war on drugs and Bishop Arturo Bastes hoping that the filing of a case against Duterte and 11 top government officials in the International Criminal Court in The Hague will inject sufficient fear in their hearts to quit their murderous campaign.

All up, 12 people have been named as constituting the Dirty Dozen of the Pearl of the Orient Seas.

A complaint was filed at the court in The Hague on April 24 by Jude Josue Sabio, acting for a self-confessed hitman, Edgar Matobato, charging the Dirty Dozen with mass murder.

The 77-page report, titled, The Situation of Mass Murder in The Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte: The Mass Murderer, alleges that the president is the mastermind of the killing spree of suspected drug users, couriers and dealers.

Among those included in the complaint are the current justice secretary, police chief, speaker of the house, interior secretary, head of the National Bureau of Investigation, the solicitor general and two senators.

The Dirty Dozen is to be investigated under the Rome Statute, a treaty set up by the International Criminal Court to try perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

The treaty was ratified by The Philippines in 2011.

UCAN reported that Sabio is asking the court to hold the Philippine president accountable “in the name of international justice and to once and for all end this dark, obscene, murderous and evil era in The Philippines.”

Sabio claims 9,400 have died at the hands of the government in the mass extermination campaign. It was reported that 39 were added to the list over the three days of Easter alone.

Sabio is asking the court to conduct an investigation with the hope that an arrest warrant for the erstwhile president will be issued.

He also alludes to Duterte’s mental condition, suggesting that he is a pathological murderer.

A spokesperson for the president, Ernesto Abella, called the case an attempt to put Duterte in a bad light prior to hosting the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), where he is expected to gain support for his campaign, or at least not encounter any criticism.

ASEAN meetings are notorious for leaders pandering to each other’s idiosyncrasies, especially in the area of human rights, which most nations in the block to not really believe in anyway.

However, Bishop Bastes seems to agree with Duterte that fear is the key.

 

While Duterte figures that a terrified population will toe his line on all matters, the bishop said, “It is our hope that this move will inject fear into the hearts and minds of the accused officials so that they will eventually and sincerely put a stop to these merciless killings.”

However, while one senator, Panfilo Lacson, figures the case against the Dirty Dozen is dustbin bound, new evidence emerging from inside the ranks of the police suggesting that the theory that attributes the bulk of the killing to vigilantes is just another smokescreen promoted by Malacañang, could be significant.

A summary of the report published by Reuters says, “Human rights monitors believe many of the remaining two thirds were killed by paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes—a charge the police deny.”

However, two senior officers, one a retired police intelligence officer and the other an active-duty commander, are claiming that the killings are in fact orchestrated by the police, including most of those disguised as being carried out by vigilantes.

“It is the Philippine National Police doing it,” the retired intelligence officer said. “This killing machine must be buried six feet under the ground.”

He admitted that he is angry about the impact of the killings on police discipline and wants “to put Duterte on the defensive.”

While Reuters was unable to independently verify all his claims, they are widely supported by community groups and human rights advocates.

Neither the president’s office nor the police responded to questions from Reuters.

 

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