President Duterte said that he is not threatened by the complaints lodged against him before the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying that he is willing to be indicted and convicted if it means protecting the interest of the Filipino people.
“Do not worry about me. I can face the ICC. If they want to indict me and convict me, fine. I will gladly do it for my country,” Duterte said in his speech following the oath taking of the members of the Consultative Committee on Tuesday, February 13.
The Chief Executive likewise challenged the ICC to find a place where execution by firing squad is allowed if he would be adjudged guilty.
“I would love to experience what Rizal experienced too,” Duterte said.
It can be recalled that late last week, the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor said it would start its preliminary investigation on the extrajudicial killings allegations associated with the Duterte administration.
The President however he would only be loyal to the people and the flag where he swore allegiance to after getting elected as the highest official in 2016.
“I swear before God and country that I will protect my nation, that I will also have to protect the people. That’s about it,” Duterte added.
The President led the oath taking of “illustrious” men and women who will comprise the members of the Consultative Committee to review the 1987 Constitution.
“There’s always a time to be in government and to be not in government. But what is very important today is that we have also with us the illustrious Filipinos who would be responsible in guiding this country into the future,” President Duterte said in his speech.
“Let me just say that… In the matter of the commission that I have appointed to give us the advice, the wise experience that you have had to stir something that will guide us for the future,” he said.
The President expressed his confidence that the newly-appointed officials will do what is best for the country.
“I’ll leave it up to you kung ano ‘yung gusto ninyo para sa Bayan natin. And I know that you would not do anything harmful to the country,” he said.
The Chief Executive formed the Consultative Committee by virtue of Executive Order (EO) No. 10 signed in December 2016 in lieu of his goal of federalizing the country.
The committee, headed by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, is tasked to study, conduct consultations, and review the provisions of the 1987 Constitution, including but not limited to the provisions on the structure and powers of the government, local governance, and economic policies.
According to the President, the sole reason why he wants to have a federal form of government is to avoid fissure in Mindanao.
“Sabihin ko sa inyo, ‘pag hindi ito naayos, there will be trouble. I’m not saying it will be a war, I’m not saying it will be a battlefield but there will be trouble,” Duterte said.
“At the stage of our national life, when you’re supposed to be working to develop our country for the next generation. Taking into account the average age of us now here… It behooves upon us, on our shoulders, the burden of trying to figure out what is good for the future,” he said.
The President also said he wants to see Mindanao developed, noting that it will help strengthen the economy through the agriculture and manufacturing sector.
“That’s the only way to pull them up and if we can do that we shall have improved the average of the life of the Filipino in a comfortable level. ‘Yan lang ho ang gusto ko. With the three years remaining, I am also in a hurry to go down,” he said.
The President reiterated his previous statement that if the transition to the federal government is done by 2020, then he will be ready to step down.
“I do not have any plans of perpetuating myself in power. It ain’t in my system. And I have told the military time and again as good as any other time that if I overstay even for 24 hours here in Malacañan, you can arrest me and shoot me,” he said.
Later that day, the President had a closed-door meeting with the Consultative Committee to discuss possible amendments of the Constitution. ### (PND)