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SolGen: De Lima has privilege to help ICC drug probe

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 17) — Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra on Friday said former Senator Leila de Lima has the privilege to help the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its investigation of the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs now that she is a private person.

But he maintained that the Philippine government will not cooperate with the ICC prosecutor’s probe, which would continue after the court’s Appeals Chamber rejected the country’s plea in July.

READ: ICC to continue probe into Duterte's drug war; court chamber junks PH appeal

Guevarra was reacting to reports that De Lima has expressed willingness to help the ICC in its investigation on the previous administration’s drug war that killed thousands.

Speaking to CNN Philippines’ Politics As Usual on Wednesday, De Lima urged the Marcos administration to reconsider its stance on the ICC probe.

“[Former] Senator De Lima is now a private individual and nothing prevents any private person to assist the ICC investigator in pursuing ‘yung kanyang [his] investigation in the Philippines,” Guevarra told reporters.

“So that's her privilege if she wants to help the ICC prosecutor,” he added.

Guevarra, the government’s legal counsel, reiterated the ICC prosecutor must not expect cooperation from the Philippines since the country “has no obligation or duty” to do so.

READ: PH gov’t ends engagement with ICC following rejected plea vs. drug war probe

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier said his administration would “continue to question the jurisdiction of the ICC in their investigations here in the Philippines.”

EXPLAINER: ICC and its authority

“Ang theory natin diyan, [Our theory is that] we are not protecting any person, this is not about certain individuals,” Guevarra told reporters. “What the republic, through the OSG, wants to impress upon the international community is that our domestic legal and judicial system is functioning.”

A Muntinlupa court granted bail to the former senator for her remaining drug case on Nov. 13, giving her provisional liberty after nearly seven years of detention.

De Lima — one of the staunchest critics of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s