MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte dismissed on Tuesday an opposition lawmaker who is considering filing a case against him at the International Criminal Court in The Hague over allegations of mass murder.
“Yeah, he can go ahead. He is free to do it. This is a democracy,” Duterte said at a press conference in Davao after being asked about Gary Alejano’s plans.
Alejano said he was considering going to the international court – where there is already a case pending against Duterte – after the Philippine parliament on Monday rejected the impeachment complaint he filed against him over the president’s alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings and other crimes.
Duterte defended his controversial war on drugs, which, according to estimates by activists and local media, has claimed more than 7,000 lives since the president assumed office in June 2016.
“Little did we know that narcopolitics was already here about five years ago. It was not until after I became president that we realized the gravity of the situation,” he said.
Duterte also accused the United States and the European Union of exerting pressure against his anti-drug campaign.
The president rejected the accusations of Alejano, whose party comprises military officers who staged a failed coup in 2003.
“Would you think I could ever order the killing of a child?” Duterte said.
The Hague court is already considering a case against Duterte – filed by Philippine lawyer Jude Sabio in late April – that accuses him of committing crimes against humanity.
The complaint accuses Duterte of committing mass murder as a part of his anti-drugs campaign since he became the president, and also during his 22 years as the mayor of the southern city of Davao.
The Office of the President of the Philippines called the case baseless and said it hopes the international court will dismiss it.