The newly elected president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, is already facing strong opposition from members of the government. Filipino Senator Leila de Lima is calling for Duterte to face an inquiry for human rights violations.
According to de Lima, a former justice secretary, a flurry of “state-inspired” murders have plagued the country since Duterte came into office in June.
“[ICC] should start to think about investigating already or doing an inquiry into the killings as crimes against humanity,” de Lima said of Duterte, notes The Guardian.
"Hitler massacred three million Jews,” Duterte told reporters in September, reports The Washington Post. “Now, there are 3 million drug addicts. ... I'd be happy to slaughter them. … You know my victims, I would like to be, all criminals, to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.”
The Post adds that, since July, some 3,300 Filipinos have been killed by police or assassins in nationwide drug ring crackdowns.
In August, the Filipino Senate began inquiries into the extrajudicial killings linked to Duterte during his 21-year grip as mayor of Davao City.
“We were tasked to kill criminals every day,” hitman Edgar Matobato told the panel, reports The New York Times. Matobato claims to be part of the Lambada Boys, a death squad that operated, at times, under the personal orders of now-president Duterte.
“Perhaps we can link what is happening now [across the country] to what happened in Davao City in the 1990s until the present, and how the Philippines now mirrors the city of Davao under the two-decade rule of Mayor Duterte,” de Lima said during the September inquiry.
But after her recent call for an ICC human rights inquiry, de Lima admitted that her crusade against the president is not popular.
“There is not much support, particularly from politicians,” de Lima began, notes The Guardian. “I do feel there is some groundswell of support from ordinary people. … On the whole, the majority is still silent. But I do know that more people are beginning to get worried because more people are beginning to really think about what’s happening.”