President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said the deaths of suspected drug traffickers and mayors linked to illegal drugs were on him amid the International Crime Court’s (ICC) investigation of his drug war’s deaths.

“‘[Y]ung mga drug lords na ni-raid tapos pinatay at ‘yung mga mayors, akin ‘yan. Iyong mga lahat na raid na namatay na mayor, akin ‘yan. I assume full responsibility. And if there’s anybody who should go to prison, it should not be the police nor the PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), it should be me because they were acting upon my orders,” he said in his speech during the inauguration of the Puerto Princesa Seaport Expansion Project and the Philippine Coast Guard Kalayaan Station on Thursday.

Duterte added that he did not want himself to be judged in an international court.

“They want me to go to prison. Well, maybe. But it has to be a Philippine prison and I must be judged by a judicial court of the Republic of the Philippines. And I must be prosecuted like me when I was a prosecutor before. Kailangan Pilipino,” he said.

The ICC greenlit a probe as there was “reasonable basis” to believe that a crime against humanity had been committed in the Philippines between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019 in the context of Duterte’s deadly campaign against drugs.

Duterte has insisted that the ICC did not have jurisdiction over the Philippines because the country pulled out from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019.

Since his stint as Davao mayor, Duterte has been vocal about killing criminals for the sake of cleansing his jurisdiction of illegal drugs.

The Commission on Human Rights reported earlier this week that only 2.36 percent or 11 of 466 drug personalities who initiated aggression or resisted arrest during police anti-drug operations survived.

At least 538 individuals were killed from July 2016 to February 2020, it said.

Data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s monitoring platform #RealNumbersPH found 6,011 persons killed in anti-drug operations from July 2016 to December 2020. John Ezekiel J. Hirro