THE lawyer who filed a case against President Rodrigo Duterte for “crimes against humanity” before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2017 on Tuesday said he was withdrawing the complaint.
“I intend to withdraw such communication from the ICC and seek the setting aside of the legal matter at hand,” Jude Sabio said in his affidavit, copies of which were shared with the media by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.
Sabio said he did not approve of the action of former senator Antonio Trillanes 4th and other Liberal Party (LP) members who resorted to besmirching the honor of the President.
“Dahil hindi ko na masikmura ang ginawa ni Senator Trillanes at mga kasamahan niya sa LP… sa ginawa nila sa ‘Bikoy’ na kapalpakan (I could no longer stomach what Senator Trillianes and other LP members did, especially in the Bikoy case),” Sabio said, referring to Joemel Advincula, who claimed to be the hooded man named “Bikoy” in viral videos. In his videos, Bikoy linked President Rodrigo Duterte’s son Paolo and son-in-law Manases Carpio to the illegal drug trade.
Sabio said members of the opposition used the ICC case to prop their political agenda.
“Nakita ko na ginagamit nila ang kaso sa ICC para sa kanilang pulitika at ayoko nang maging kasali sa ganyang katarantaduhan (They were using the case in the ICC for politics and I do not want to be part of that foolishness),” he added.
In February 2018, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda started a preliminary examination of the communication against Duterte.
Weeks later, the President announced that the Philippines would withdraw from the ICC.
The withdrawal took effect in March 2019.
Sabio said he was withdrawing the case freely and without duress.
Trillanes, however, said Sabio’s decision to withdraw his communication had no effect on the case against Duterte.
“Walang epekto ang gagawing pag-withdraw ni Sabio ng ICC case kasi hindi ganun ang proseso ng ICC. (Sabio’s plan to withdraw the case has no effect because that is not the process of ICC),” he added.
“Ang mga nagbigay ng testimonya d’un sa finayl ni Sabio ay ang mga testigo na sina Arturo Lascañas at Edgar Matobato (The ones who gave the testimony in the complaint filed by Sabio were the witnesses Arturo Lascañas and Edgar Matobato),” the former senator said in a text message.
“Even assuming tanggapin ang pag-withdraw ni Sabio, marami pang ibang nag-file laban kay Duterte sa ICC (Even assuming that Sabio’s withdrawal is accepted, there were others who filed [a case] against Duterte before the ICC),” he added.
Trillanes noted that he and former party-list representative Gary Alejano also filed a complaint against Duterte before the ICC on June 2017.
“Ang paggapang kay Sabio ng mga Duterte forces ay isang maliwanag na indication na natutuliro na sila Duterte sa ICC case na malapit nang lumabas (The attempt to reach out to Sabio by Duterte forces was a clear indication that Duterte has become nervous about the ICC case),” he added.
WITH BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO