People Powwow

By Herbert Vego

BBM not keen on shielding D30

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. must have realized by now that his survival as president until the end of his term in 2028 rests on his cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

That is the inference we glean from the announcement of Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Secretary Jose Dominic Clavano IV, who said that his office was preparing a legal brief for the president on what to do if and when the ICC issues a warrant of arrest against former President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Once the ICC arrest warrants are issued,” Clavano said, “he will know what the legalities are.”

Lawyer Kristina Conti, assistant counsel for the drug war victims, commented that a legal brief is a “positive development” and a “win-win” situation, coming from a “worst-case scenario” during Duterte’s term.

So far, however, Marcos has remained adamant on his refusal to cooperate with the ICC, insisting that the court has no more jurisdiction over Duterte and policemen accused of crimes against humanity.

But as this corner has been saying, Marcos could not lie forever since the Philippine Supreme Court resolved the issue in a March 16, 2021 decision which specified that the ICC “retains jurisdiction over any and all acts committed by government actors until March 17, 2019.”

Marcos knows that since he was one of the 17 senators who ratified our membership to the ICC (Senate Resolution No. 546) in 2011.

To avoid the ICC prosecution and trial, Duterte unilaterally withdrew our membership on March 17, 2018, which was to take effect one year later in 2019. By then, however, the court had launched a preliminary examination into the anti-narcotics crackdown.

Justice demands investigation of cases of thousands of Filipinos who have been victims of extrajudicial killings EJKs) in the “war on drugs” by former president Duterte. According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), some 5,000 Filipinos have lost their lives to EJKs.  But human rights organizations insist it’s at least 30,000.

If Duterte and his police are not guilty, they should welcome the ICC probe to prove themselves innocent.

If Marcos stands pat on his refusal to cooperate with the ICC, he risks losing his post. The immediate internal threat against him comes from Duterte, the main speaker in the so-called “prayer rallies,” denouncing him for being “bangag” or drug addict and demanding his resignation.

Obviously, the unspoken motive for that demand is to enable his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte, to take over by succession.  Under the law, the vice-president may assume the presidency in the event the president resigns, is disabled, or dies due to assassination or other causes.

Knowing this to be real rather than imagined, Marcos may abandon his “utang na loob” to his predecessor, who obviously does not think he can protect his family from ICC.

VP Sara is being implicated for having had a role in the extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in Davao City when she was mayor there.

If we are to believe former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, many ICC representatives arrived incognito in Manila in December 2023 to interview relatives of EJK victims.

If the Dutertes really believed that Marcos could protect them from the ICC, they might not have organized anti-Marcos rallies, which, unfortunately for them, would not have attracted massive crowds.

Forget the rumored coup d’etat attempt. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is in no mood to collaborate with Duterte, who aligns himself with an external threat to Philippine sovereignty.

That external threat comes from the government of China, which is interested in “resurfacing” the Dutertes in Power to resume unbridled exploration of reefs and shoals within our exclusive economic zone at the West Philippine Sea.

The moment the ICC issues warrants of arrest, gone would be public officials openly supporting the government of China. Right now, senators allied with Duterte shy away from discussing China’s “bullying” at the West Philippine Sea for fear of not getting reelected in 2025.

-oOo-

MAY IS ELECTRICAL SAFETY MONTH

THANKS to our friends from MORE Power for reminding us that this month of May is Electrical Safety Month in the Philippines under Proclamation No. 193, signed by the late President Benigno S. Aquino III on June 27, 2011.

To quote a reminder from MORE Power’s Facebook page, “Let’s embrace the Power of small actions to forge a safer, brighter, and more prosperous future for all. Every effort counts in promoting electrical safety and guarding against potential hazards.”

Proclamation No. 193 aims to raise awareness and promote safe electrical practices to prevent fires, explosions, shocks, and electrocutions caused by faulty electrical wiring and improper use of electrical appliances.

The proclamation noted that “the main reason for the occurrence of fires and electrocution from electrical causes is not faulty wiring but ignorance in the use of electrical appliances and gadgets such as overloading of electrical outlets and the use of counterfeit electrical products such as circuit breakers, power strips, extension cords, batteries and holiday lights that can cause fires, explosions, shocks, and electrocutions.”

Now we know.

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