BBM to continue drug war 'in a different way', to let ICC probers in as 'tourists'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 7) — If he wins in next year's election, presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will continue the Duterte administration's anti-drug campaign, with a pre-condition on the entry of probers from the International Criminal Court.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source on Thursday, a day after filing his candidacy, Marcos was asked whether he will continue the current administration's drug war with the same vigor.

"Yes, but perhaps in a different way. We have seen that the drug war has been conducted purely on enforcement side. I think that we should also focus on prevention, and on the educational process where we teach young children that doing drugs is bad," the former senator said.

Marcos also addressed the need to improve and modernize the country's rehabilitation center and to prevent returnees to these treatment facilities.

However, he noted that investigators from the ICC can only come as "tourists," and the Philippine government will behave as a non-signatory to the Rome Statute.

"We are not signatories to the Rome (Statute) agreement anymore. We withdrew," he said. "They can come, they can be tourists, and look at the Philippines but I don't know what they expect that the government will do beyond that."

"Because again, we don't recognize that investigation and we have withdrawn as a signatory. We will behave as a non-signatory," he said. "If they want to come to the country, you know everybody is welcome to the Philippines but as a visitor."

The ICC previously green-lighted the investigation into the bloody drug war from July 1, 2016 to March 16, 2019, as well as in Davao City — by what is known as the Davao Death Squad — between Nov. 1, 2011 to June 30, 2016.

But President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies have repeatedly said that they will not cooperate with the ICC probe.

The tribunal estimated that the number of civilians killed in President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody drug war ranged from 12,000 to 30,000 from 2016 to 2019 alone. Government data only counted some 6,000 dead in the campaign.

The candidacy of Marcos previously garnered a mixed response from Filipinos, with many calling for justice for atrocities under the dictatorship of his late father and namesake Ferdinand Marcos, and for a return of billions of pesos in the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth.

Under the 20-year Marcos regime, over 11,000 people fell victim to summary execution, torture, and other human rights violations, according to the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act. Rights group Amnesty International estimates some 70,000 were imprisoned and 34,000 were tortured.