Duterte supporters in Belgium question International People's Court ruling

Raquel Bernal-Crisostomo, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Sep 21 2018 06:32 PM

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Members of the Diehard Duterte Supporters (DDS) here have lambasted the ruling of the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) last Wednesday finding President Rodrigo Duterte guilty of human rights abuses. 

Supporter Leticia Binuag questioned the authenticity of the jurors’ decision, doubting whether they were given the correct data.

“I think this decision is a sham. Why? Because it took only 2 days. To begin with, they may be biased or been fed with wrong information or maybe wrong data. So if you have a wrong data, automatically, you make a wrong decision,” she said.

However, she stressed that although she does not agree with the ruling, she respects the jurors.

“I am not indicting the panel of jurors because maybe they only did their job based on the data, based on the testimonies fed on them. I personally believe that the data fed to them is biased and not factual,” she added.

In their official statement, they hinted that several groups were trying to destroy the image of the President in favor of Vice President Leni Robredo.

“This individual group or organization that are accusing our President with their false testimonies and fabricated lies wanted a regime change in favor of the Vice President Leni Robredo who is currently in question for her legitimacy before the court,” she said.

They believe this is just part of a destabilization plot against the President.

“We know that their objective is to make it appear that Philippines is ruled by a dictator and murderer and the target audience are the international community which has little knowledge of the real situation in the Philippines,” she said.

On the other hand, some said they were neither pro nor against the government.

“Hindi po ako against sa war on drugs. Gusto ko po talaga malinis ang ating bansa. Ang ayaw ko lang po ay yung may nadadamay na mga inosenteng sibilyan. Ganun lang po. Hindi po ako against kay Pangulong Duterte o kanino man, doon lang po ako sa tuwid,” said migrant worker Fernando Cruz.

(I am not against the war on drugs. I just want our country to be cleansed. What I don't like is when innocent civilians become victims. That's all. I am not against President Duterte or anyone, I am only for what is right.)

While the DDS are having a meeting with some embassy officials, a group of human rights advocates came to deliver the copy of the IPT ruling.

Ambassador Jose de Vega said he wasn’t expecting the group but just the same welcomed them and even asked his staff to give them bottled water.

Azadeh Shahshahani, one of the jurors, clarified their decision.

“The jury determined that Duterte government and Trump administration and other defendants are in violation of various international treaties. This is based on consideration of 31 witnesses as well as documentation that was presented to us,” she explained.

They believe that the decision will have an impact on the Duterte government.

“We’ve just been to the European Parliament where they are alerted to the bad situation in the Philippines. So they promise to take action on trade and on aid from the European Union,” IPT spokesperson Peter Murphy said.

On the other hand, Amira Aleli Dazan from the Boses ng Bangsamoro group hopes to find justice for the crimes committed by the government against indigenous people.

“Kaming mga katutubo, ‘yan ang aming hinihiling, magkaroon ng kapayapaan, hustisya para sa mga napatay, binombahan lalo na sa lugar namin sa Mindanao, sa Marawi, sa Cotabato, 'yung mga sibilyang napatay na pinaratangang terorista kahit na hindi naman,” she said.

(For us indigenous people, we ask for peace, justice for those killed in bombings in Mindanao, in Marawi, Cotabato, civilians who were killed and accused of being terrorists but were not.)