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If ICC orders Duterte’s arrest over his deadly drugs war, will Philippines recognise it?

Two complaints have been filed against Duterte at the ICC: one submitted by a former policeman accusing him of ordering the deaths of opponents and criminals while he was mayor of Davao city, with the other lodged by relatives of those killed in his “war on drugs” while he was president from 2016 to 2022.

“I think that’s for the better. We have to make people accountable for their actions,” said Renato Cruz De Castro, an international-studies professor at De La Salle University in Manila, of the Philippine Department of Justice’s Wednesday announcement that it was preparing a legal briefing outlining Marcos’ options in case of an ICC warrant. “We cannot simply allow impunity.”

The DOJ preparing a legal brief was just “standard procedure, not a change in position”, Marcos’ press secretary told reporters after news of the document emerged. It was the department’s duty “to explore all legal avenues and ensure that the president is fully informed of his options”, she said, adding that the president’s stance on the ICC issue remained “clear and consistent”.

“If Mr Marcos is serious about accountability and his human rights commitment, he should not put any roadblocks against the ICC investigation,” said Carlos Conde, a senior researcher covering the Philippines for New York-based Human Rights Watch. “At this point, Marcos needs to side with the victims of the crimes against humanity committed by Duterte against thousands of Filipinos.”

The former president “will probably be summoned or ordered arrested by the ICC”, lawyer Kristina Conti, an assistant to counsel at the court who represents families of the victims, told The Philippine Star newspaper last week.

“The fact that crimes against humanity have been committed in the