Aguirre seeks probe on people behind ICC case vs Pres. Duterte

MANILA-- Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II is poised to order a probe into the people or group believed to be behind the complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 senior government officials filed by lawyer Jude Jose Sabio before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Aguirre believes that there are people behind the actions of Sabio -- lawyer of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato -- which he described as an "effort to destabilize the Duterte administration."

Matobato, Sabio and whoever are behind them are out to destabilize the Duterte administration by discrediting it before the international community. I believe that somebody is behind them because they will not be so brazen in their actions if there is no one holding the strings, purse strings included, behind the scenes. Ask them who is paying for their expenses in going to the ICC," Aguirre said in a statement

"Are these funders public officials at present? If yes, are they using public funds of their offices to undermine the government? If yes, they should be investigated and be made accountable. If, on the other hand, the funding is private, then it is still an act of destabilization. These destabilizers do not want the Filipino people to have a drug free future. They hate it when the greater majority of our countrymen benefit from the many gains of the Duterte administration. To them and their kind, I say, bring it on!, Aguirre added.

Aguirre, also a lawyer, said he is disappointed with Sabio's act.

I am disappointed with Atty. Sabio. As a brethren in the noble profession of lawyering, he has sunk so low. He has deliberately prostituted himself at the altar of greed and self interest. He has disregarded our Lawyer's Oath that a lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any. His present action totally disregarded the warning issued to him by the Supreme Court itself in the August 11, 2008 case of Judge Alden V. Cervantes vs. Atty. Jude Josue L. Sabio," said Aguirre.

For his part, Solicitor General Jose Calida, the government's top lawyer, said he will initiate the filing of a disbarment charge against Sabio, for filing baseless suits.

He recalled that the SC sanctioned Sabio in 2008 for filing a groundless bribery charge against Judge Alden Cervantes, who was the presiding judge of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Cabuyao, Laguna until his retirement in 2005.

The Court held that Sabio violated the proscription in the lawyers' Code of Professional Responsibility against wittingly or willingly promoting or suing any groundless suit, including baseless administrative complaints against judges and other court officers and employees.

Sabio also ran for a Senate seat last year and lost.

This perennial loser stubbornly refuses to heed the warning from the Supreme Court that if he commits the same infraction, he will be punished more severely. We will see him in court, Calida said.

On April 24, 2017, a communication was filed by Sabio before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, accusing President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other government officials of crimes against humanity.

It appears that this lawyer is in the business of maliciously filing baseless suits based only on hearsay and unfounded suspicions, Calida said.

Sabio is a compliant stooge of the yellow cult who planned to destabilize the Duterte government because they do not have the numbers to impeach the President, Calida added.

According to Calida, his statement was made in the context of the then Senate inquiry, chaired by Senator Leila de Lima, on the administration's anti-drug campaign.

I told the members of the Philippine National Police that if the Senate investigation was not in aid of legislation, the OSG will defend them if they are called to appear before the Senate, Calida said. Obviously, they took my words out of context in order to include me in the communication.

Sabio filed a criminal case for crimes against humanity noting that President Duterte allegedly violated the Articles of the Rome Statute through commission of mass murder or extrajudicial executions during his term as Davao City mayor and now President of the Philippines through his aggressive campaign against illegal drugs.

There is no State policy, express or implied, directing an attack against any civilian population or the sanctioning of extrajudicial killings on drug-related cases. This basically removes this case from the purview of crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute, Calida explained.

Source: Philippines News Agency