Philippines: Senator calls Duterte, "The Grave Digger" in International Court complaint

Trillanes together with lower house Philippine Lawmaker Gary Alejano filed a 45-page complaint at the International Criminal Court.

Philippines: Senator calls Duterte,
Philippine vice-presidential candidate and senator Antonio Trillanes gestures while answering questions during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondent Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) in Manila. Reuters

Philippine senator Antonio Trillanes, staunch critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, described the country head in a complaint filed at the International Criminal Court (ICC) as "Digong the Grave Digger, a Look into the Philippine President's Bloody War on Drugs. "Digong "is the nickname of the Philippine President.

Trillanes together with lower house Philippine Lawmaker Gary Alejano filed a 45-page complaint at the ICC and said that they have strong evidence and witness who will prove that there is a systematic way of killing suspected drug users and traders in the Philippines committed by the authorities as ordered by the President.

After failure to get Congress endorsement to impeach the president, Trillanes also lamented that Congress earlier junked the testimonies of witnesses during the impeachment hearing process complaint against Duterte.

The complaint filed in Congress was also filed by Alejano. Philippine laws require the endorsement of Congress in order for the impeachment process to prosper and be elevated to the higher lawmaking body which is the senate.

Alejano said that the ICC is a better venue to file the criminal case because the ICC is not under the control of the Philippine President unlike the House of Congress where most lawmakers are the President's allies.

Alejando and Trillanes expressed high hopes that given the independency of the ICC, they can get favourable decision from the ICC.

Moreover, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo belittled the complaint saying all the complaints were product of hearsays and with no basis.

"Unfortunately for the misguided lawmakers, they cannot hope to cure a complaint which is intrinsically flawed and, worse, was filed before a tribunal that does not even have jurisdiction in the first place," Panelo was quoted by ABS-CBN online.

According to Panelo's camp, the ICC can only hear cases if proven that the senate of the host country does not have the capability to resolve cases like this.