THAT’s according to lawyer Jude Sabio, who filed in 2017 the “mass murder” allegations in the International Criminal Court against President Duterte and a dozen other officials, including his purported allies Sen. Richard Gordon, then Sen.Alan Peter Cayetano and then House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.*
However, Sabio in January 2020 informed the ICC prosecutor in a sworn affidavit that he was withdrawing his complaint, and asked her to “expunge it from the record.”
One reason for Sabio’s turnaround was his realization, he said in his affidavit, that Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th in conspiracy with the Jesuit Fr. Albert Alejo, Sen. Leila de Lima and the rest of the Liberal Party-led opposition were just out to advance their “their political agenda which is to undermine and topple President Duterte so that Vice President Lenny [Robredo] would become president.”
Another possible reason for Sabio’s change of heart though is that his “professional fees,” if one may call it that, were abruptly ended in the case of Trillanes when the latter no longer had access to taxpayers money as senator, and in the case of Fr. Alejo, never given as promised.
It was Fr. Alejo, Sabio disclosed, who was mainly behind the so-called “Bikoy: Totoong Narcolist” videos disseminated through youtube.com in April 2019 in which a purported drug-syndicate member claimed that Duterte and his son Paolo were receiving bribes from drug lords. In a few weeks though, “Bikoy” turned around, surrendered to authorities, and disclosed that the videos had all been made up by Alejo, Trillanes and other Yellow personalities. Alejo, Sabio said in his affidavit, even produced the videos at the “Communications Center” of the Ateneo de Manila campus where he lived.
Alejo swindled him, Sabio claimed:
“In November 2016, Fr. Alejo through his coordinator told me to make a professional billing for my professional services for Edgar Matobato [who claimed he was a member of the Davao Death Squads under Duterte’s aegis] because, according to him, even the FLAG [Free Legal Assistance Group] lawyers are being paid by them. I did the billing for three days, which amounted to P700,000 for the several cases of Matobato in Davao, covering my professional fees and actual work just for the period from October 5 to November 15, 2016.
However, later or in January 2017, I was rudely informed by Fr. Alejo thru his coordinator that they could not afford to pay my billing and that after all there was no agreement about payment for my fees. I was perplexed, because I was told to make a billing, giving me the impression that I was to be paid for my services. I raised this matter with Senator Trillanes more than two years later in our meeting on April 29, 2019. Senator Trillanes characterized as ‘linlang’ or deception what Fr. Alejo did to me.”
In the case of his fees – “allowances” — from Trillanes, Sabio narrated:
“In April 2017, before I left for The Hague, Netherlands, I was happy when Senator Trillanes told me that he would increase my monthly allowance from P50,000 to P100,000. He made an arrangement for a consultancy with his office under the name of another person, from which my allowance of P100,000 would be drawn. The monthly allowance of P100,000 existed until January 2018 when he told me that he was having a hard time with his finances in the Senate, prompting him to reduce my allowance to P50,000. effective February 2018. My allowance was never reverted to P100,000 and it was cut off at the end of June 2019 [when Trillanes’ term as senator ended] which made my life very difficult.”
It’s obvious that Sabio was pouring his heart out here, and couldn’t have made up these details. He is however being guileful: as a lawyer, he knows that what Trillanes did was both a case of malversation of government funds and falsification of public documents, the penalty for which crimes is imprisonment from six months to six years, and lifetime disbarment from holding public office.
With Sabio’s sworn affidavit that was his communication to the ICC prosecutor, and possibly with his cooperation, the Duterte administration should file such charges against Trillanes, on top of the sedition charges he now faces. Maybe then the nation can permanently get rid of this political pest, the megalomaniac Frankenstein monster the Yellows created when it backed his senatorial bid in 2007.
The ICC complaint
*Yep, that’s how crazy the ICC complaint of “mass murder” in the Philippines filed by Sabio is: Included are these political leaders as co-conspirators, on the grounds that they made public statements denying there were such state-directed killings of thousands of innocents.
An indication of the sheer madness of the complaint is that other officials included in the complaint were Solicitor General Jose Calida, then National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran (both for “failure to investigate the widespread killings”), then Interior Secretary Ismael Sueño (“for allowing the police to undertake its Oplan Tokhang,” the police and barangay strategy of visiting suspected drug pushers in their homes and warning them to stop), PNP Chief Ronald de la Rosa (“for his public statements supporting” that campaign), justice secretary at that time Vitaliano Aguirre, and four other high-ranking police officers.
With some effort, I managed to get a copy of Sabio’s complaint to find out if there was basis to his charges. After reading it, I was shocked why the ICC prosecutor would even claim it would be subject to preliminary examination. Nearly two-thirds of the 77-page complaint was about the alleged Davao Death Squads that supposedly were directed by Duterte when he was mayor 20 years ago, and almost entirely based on the claims of Edgar Matobato and Arturo Lascanas, admitted killers who had murder charges filed against them years ago.
The complaint involving Duterte’s war on drugs was entirely based on unverified claims of foreign media, NGOs, leftist Church groups and of course the Yellow-led Commission on Human Rights.
What got my goat is that the complaint kept on repeating that from “June 2016 to January 2017, there were 7,000 drug-related killings,” with that figure later on being the number of innocent people killed.
That 7,000 was the figure Rappler.com concocted, which I debunked in several columns (for instance in “How Rappler misled EU, Human Rights Watch, CNN, Time, BBC — the world,” March 20, 2017) which however continued to be quoted by the Yellows and extrapolated that by 2019, the Yellows and even foreign media claimed there were 14,000 killed, and then later 27,000.
The actual figure, of “drug personalities killed in anti-drug operations” at the end of 2017 was 3,811, a figure practically verified by research by the Philippine Daily Inquirer and by a project funded by a US college. The latest police data is that 5,856 have been killed in the course of the war on drugs since it started in 2016.