MANILA, Philippines – Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares on Thursday summoned former senator Leila De Lima to testify before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the case of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Former senator Leila de Lima, if she wanted, could be a specialist in the cases pending before the ICC against former President Duterte. She has knowledge of the Davao Death Squads (DDS) based on her investigation of the DDS case, not only as Secretary of the Department of Justice, but also during her time as Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights,” Colmenares said in a statement.
“We call on Senator De Lima to testify before the ICC and help seek justice for the families of victims of extrajudicial killings under former President Duterte,” he added.
Colmenares, a defense lawyer in the case against Duterte filed by Rise Up for Life, said De Lima could be a witness or complainant.
“In fact, she may even be a complainant in various cases brought before the ICC. We urge her to consider filing a complaint herself,” he said.
Colmenares noted that in the complaint filed by Rise Up for Life, the applicants accused the former president not only of murder but also of other “inhumane acts.”
He emphasized that Rise Up for Life specifically cited the De Lima case in its 2018 complaint.
“Her persecution and detention began with her arrest on February 24, 2017, well before the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC took place on March 17, 2019, and her case therefore falls within the scope of cases still pending before the ICC.” Colmenares said.
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“If Senator Leila has already filed a complaint with the ICC, it actually makes it much easier for her to testify because she may be a direct complainant herself and should therefore be able to testify,” he added.
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Colmenares then urged the ICC prosecutor to treat the former senator as a witness or complainant in the ongoing cases against Duterte.
“We renew our appeal to Pres. Marcos to allow ICC prosecutors to enter the Philippines to investigate, if only to facilitate access to the ICC investigation for the families of EJK victims [extrajudicial killings] Duterte, who have long sought justice and accountability for the deaths of their loved ones,” he concluded.