In all criminal and civil courts, anyone can file a case against another. So it is with the International Court of Justice (ICC) for as long as the complainant is a citizen of one of the country signatories to the ICC agreement.
So, when Atty. Jude Sabio first announced that he was filing a case against Duterte and other before the ICC, we knew of course, he was eligible to do so — the Philippines being one of the signers of the agreement.
But as in all cases filed before the courts, the petitioner or complainant usually has an established standing to do so — as an aggrieved person, relatives of the aggrieved person, or a person acting on behalf of a group of aggrieved persons.
Because Sabio is known as the lawyer for self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, many are assuming that his complaint of crimes against humanity directed at Duterte and senior officials of his administration, is on behalf of his client. (To say that it is on behalf of the Filipino people is quite a stretch.)
If such is the case, Sabio has to come clean.
How much is Sabio getting for his professional fee to represent Matobato? That is, of course, assuming that Matobato has the funds to pay Sabio. If not, who is funding this high-profile, international case? Sabio is reportedly in The Hague to personally file his complaint. Who is funding his travel? If he is doing this pro bono for his client and is using his personal funds, he should disclose that and show that he has the capacity to do so.
There are many questions left unanswered and which the “legitimate news media” have not asked. For example, most news reports have also failed to disclose the legal procedures in filing a case before the ICC.
As Politikal Pinoy and others have previously discussed, only the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC can formally file a case, and only after investigating the complaint from the individual or individuals wanting to seek judgment from the court. The submission by Sabio of his letter-complaint does NOT constitute a filing of a case before the ICC.
The timing of Sabio’s letter-complaint to the ICC is also suspect. It comes at a time when Matobato has left the country and has not returned as scheduled as of press time. It also comes on the heels of the ASEAN meeting to be held in Manila later this month.
It all smells like an orchestrated attempt to discredit Duterte and his administration before the international community — something that the news media has failed to delve into in their reporting.