MANILA, Philippines — The Liberal Party on Monday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte, following his statement that he needed to be a dictator, with one LP member claiming that by admitting that he was ruling the country with an iron-fist, he could have dragged himself down the pits thereby making it easier for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate allegations against him.
“Oprah Winfrey says, believe people when they describe themselves. That’s why when the President says he’s a dictator, we believe him,” the LP said in a statement issued Monday.
“Apart from that, he does what he says, like the numerous times he said he wanted to impose martial law long before he actually did so in Mindanao, his threats against media, his jailing of Senator Leila de Lima, and the silencing of those who disagree with him,” added the opposition party.
LP issued the statement days after Duterte confirmed that he was indeed a dictator and that he needed to be one to be able to carry out changes towards the country’s progress.
“You say I’m a dictator, I really am. Because if I will not be a dictator, son of a bitch, nothing will happen to this country,” the President recently said, during a speech before a gathering of former communist rebels.
According to LP, the chief executive’s admission and all the things he said he would do and really did “are portent of worse things to come. Fear and control of information are ways to keep people in a tight grip.”
“We Filipinos have lived under a dictatorship. We don’t want it. Because we know it leads only to widespread plunder and the restriction of our basic rights,” the party added.
‘Admission made the ICC job simpler’
Meanwhile Akbayan party’s Sen. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros said the President might “have incriminated himself on criminal charges filed against him before an international tribunal” after Duterte’s admission about his dictatorial rule.
Hontiveros noted that Duterte’s remark came amid the ICC’s decision to conduct a preliminary examination into crimes against humanity charges against him over deaths in his bloody war on drugs.
“I am sure that the ICC is taking due notice of the President’s latest statement, especially as it conducts its preliminary examination into his alleged crimes,” the senator said in a statement issued Monday.
“The ICC was created precisely to prosecute those who have committed crimes against humanity, many of whom were dictators. By admitting that he is a dictator, voluntarily and without pressure from anyone, President Duterte just made the ICC’s job simpler.”
According to the lawmaker, the ICC “will now refer to his public admission, together with his other documented undemocratic practices, as proof of his utter disregard for democracy and human rights that resulted in colossal abuses in our country.”
Hontiveros claimed that even before Duterte’s latest statement, the President already made numerous pronouncements and actions in the past “that pointed to his possible guilt in the crimes that he is being accused of.”
The lawmaker cited as among the examples Duterte’s alleged public order to the police to kill all drug dependents, his comparison of his drug war to the Holocaust, and his decision to reinstate and even promote the police personnel accused of murdereding Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa.
“It was reported that the Senate and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) both concluded that the death of Espinosa is a case of extrajudicial killing,” she said.
“A fish is caught by its mouth and a foul man by his deeds. President Duterte is the best witness against himself. Through his words and deeds, he has repeatedly exposed himself to the charge of crimes lodged against him. I am confident that the ICC has documented all of these,” Hontiveros said.
‘Recognize ICC process’
Meanwhile, Hontiveros asked the Philippine government to recognize the ICC processes and accord them due respect.
“The Philippines is a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It is also part of a global community joined by the shared respect for democracy, human rights and dignity. We have an obligation to subject our public policies and even our leaders to scrutiny, in the same way that we may hold accountable the actions of other nation-states,” she said.