TURNING POINT: Who’s afraid of the International Criminal Court?

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 22 March) – If the President really believes that his war on drugs is above board, he should sustain his February 2018 declaration welcoming an ICC investigation come what may.

He should face his accuser(s) head high, without fear and hesitation. The nation he leads deserves such redeeming act of fortitude. Anyway, as President of the Republic, he is entitled to the services of legal luminaries now in the government in the persons of Justice Secretary Aguirre, legal adviser Atty. Panelo, and Solicitor General Frank Calida to defend him. Add impeachment expert Atty. Gadon to the team and you will have a formidable four-star defense battery.

The defense may play hard the argument that the war on drugs is a social and moral imperative to protect and secure the nation from the various evil spawns of illegal drugs, that is, criminality in all forms that are weakening the bond of family and society and thus undermine the very foundation of the nation. The war on drugs is about national security. To secure the nation, it becomes a necessity to eliminate all its worse enemies, like those all involved in the commerce of illegal drugs. This has to begin big with the hopeless drug users and addicts because they are easy to locate and identify. Moreover, they have no means to fight back. Anyway, if there are no drug users, there will be no pushers and there will be no drug lords. This has been the argument for the war on drugs that has bewitched many and endeared Duterte to the people.

Indeed, no matter how inexhaustible the supply of illegal drugs and the component materials in producing shabu (methamphetamine) from the country’s new friendliest ally, China, it is of no moment if all drug users are continually wasted.

To withdraw from the international body this time that he is an object of an investigation does not bode well for the tough-talking, hard-hitting crime-buster. It looks so self-serving – a way out purely to save his own skin. Why would he be worried with the current moves of the ICC? After all, The ICC won’t even be able to serve him an arrest warrant because no one will ever receive it. The President can easily retreat to Davao where no one will dare touch him even with a ten-foot pole. Or, he can easily hole up in Camp Crame or Fort Bonifacio surrounded and secured by loyal and grateful state security forces. And if tried and convicted in absentia, the grateful Philippine National Police and the military would not dare arrest their doting Commander-in-Chief. An external force should not dare bring our beloved President out of the country, otherwise there would be war. Thus, President Digong will never be meted any penalty and will remain scot-free, laughing at the whole world to his heart’s content.

So, who is afraid of the International Criminal Court?

We owe it, however, to the next generations to maintain our membership with the ICC. The withdrawal from the world justice tribunal puts to tatters and shreds the country’s safety nets from abusive more criminally minded future leaders than what it currently has. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental)