• DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said letting probers investigate former president Rodrigo Duterte would be an insult to the local justice system
  • Civilians may speak to ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and his team but not in the context of an investigation
  • Remulla added that if they would insist on their probe, it would mean a "takeover" of Administrative Order 35 Task Force's investigation

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has some harsh words for International Criminal Court (ICC) probers should they ever wish to conduct interviews with victims and gather evidence concerning the past administration's alleged drug war.

In his latest appearance on Cignal TV's "The Chiefs," Remulla said he would meet the probers at the airport personally and force them onto "the first plane out" of the country, the Philippine Star reported.

"My position in that matter is I will meet them so they can take the first plane out. I will tell them: go home. You will do nothing in this country. If you have complaints, file it with us," he said, as per the outlet.

According to Remulla, allowing the ICC prosecutors to investigate former President Rodrigo Duterte and other officials would be an insult to the local justice system.

The government official warned that while civilians may speak to ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and his team, doing so as part of an investigation would be considered "usurpation of authority," which is punishable under the Revised Penal Code.

Remulla added that if the probers would insist on their investigation, it would equate to a "takeover" of Administrative Order 35 Task Force's own investigation into the alleged drug war killings. Administrative Order 35 was issued by the Justice Department in 2012 as a response to allegations thrown at the government and private individuals accused of extrajudicial killings and related cases of human rights violations.

"What legal system will they use when they try to talk to our people? They will use the Philippine legal system? As far as the Philippine legal system is concerned, they're not the ones who are authorized to ask those questions...They will be committing usurpation of authority," Remulla explained, according to the Philippine Star.

The justice chief made the comments in the same week Khan's court petition urging the ICC's Appeals Chamber to resume the investigation into the drug war was released publicly. In his submission dated April 4, Khan said "the Philippines has failed to show any error in the Decision, let alone identified any error which materially affects the Decision."

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) already asked the ICC Appeals Chamber for a leave to reply to Khan's latest response to the OSG's appeal brief against the resumption of the probe. Government lawyers reportedly identified five issues that need to be addressed, saying they either concern new issues "which could not have been reasonably anticipated by the Philippine government, and/or require a limited reply which is necessary for the adjudication of the appeal."

Philippines EJKs
Effigies of corpses are seen with placards as activists protest against the Extrajudicial Killings in the country involving the war on drugs of President Rodrigo Duterte, during a rally outside the Philippine National Police (PNP) Headquarters in Quezon City, metro Manila, Philippines Jan. 27, 2017.