Malacañang has belittled plans of the camp of confessed hitman Edgar Matobato to charge President Rodrigo Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said there is no basis to file a complaint against Duterte who was accused of having ordered the killing of criminals when he was the mayor of Davao City.
“That [accusation]is just an imagination. We will respond when the case is filed. That is merely a propaganda,” Panelo said in an interview.
“Perhaps, it [the criminal complaint]will not be entertained because there is no basis. Of course, if you have to file a case, you should have evidence, you should have documents, proof to back you up,” he added.
Matobato’s lawyer Jude Sabio said he is preparing the case against Duterte to be filed at the ICC.
Sabio said he will fly to The Netherlands this year to file cases of “crimes against humanity” against the President.
Matobato in his testimony at the Senate linked Duterte to the alleged Davao Death Squad, supposedly responsible for alleged extrajudicial killings in Davao City.
Duterte had admitted that there were thousands killed in Davao City during his stint as mayor but denied that he was behind it.
Panelo was unfazed by Sabio’s threat to file a case, saying it is only part of the plan of Duterte’s opponents to damage the President’s reputation.
“They will not stop. The critics of the President will not stop from making any move that will discredit him. That’s for sure. It’s really their job to discredit the President,” Panelo said.
“For as long as the President’s popularity is still up there, for as long as he follows the Constitution, I don’t think there is anything to worry about. And he does follow the Constitution,” he added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE