Any person may file criminal charges against President Rodrigo Duterte until he resigns and loses his immunity from prosecution in 2022, Malacañang said Monday after a group of lawyers had threatened to sue him for alleged human rights abuses during his term of office.
Over the weekend, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) threatened to sue Duterte and state security forces who allegedly committed extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations.
Asked if the NUPL program was a cause for concern, Panelo said: “The only concern that the President has is the misery of the people, which is why he is doing a lot of things to make life easier for them.” Duterte’s successful campaign against illegal drugs has claimed the lives of 5,526 drug officials in the country’s police operations since he took office in 2016, according to official data.
Nevertheless, local and international human rights groups believe that the number of bodies could be higher than the official figures.
Duterte is currently facing two communications in connection with the drug war before the International Criminal Court (ICC), which opened a preliminary investigation in February last year to establish whether it has jurisdiction over the matter, and a full investigation will serve the interests of justice and victims.
The President responded by withdrawing membership of the ICC of the Philippines, a move challenged by opposition senators before the Supreme Court.
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