As Rodrigo Duterte faces imminent arrest from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, a former senator sees three potential scenarios.

Antonio Trillanes IV said the ICC might issue an arrest warrant either in June or in July after it completes its preliminary investigation on the thousands of people killed in Duterte’s six-year rampage to stamp out illegal drugs in the country.

The Philippine National Police acknowledged that about 6,000 people died in the war on drugs but claimed the deaths resulted from legitimate police anti-drug operations. They were all in self-defense.

However, there was clear evidence that many of the drug war victims were executed and that deaths attributed to vigilante groups could have also been done by state agents.

Thus, the ICC investigation proceeded despite efforts by the Philippine government to stall the process and even stop it by withdrawing the Rome Statute in March 2019.

Now that an arrest warrant is imminent, Trillanes drew up possible scenarios to evade the arrest.

First, the former president, like his friend, televangelist Apollo Quiboloy, and former national prison head Gerald Bantag, may go into hiding.

Law enforcement authorities have not found Quiboloy and Bantag for months after local courts issued arrest warrants against them.

Bantag was the principal suspect in the assassination of radio broadcaster Percy Lapid.

On the other hand, Quiboloy is being sought to stand trial for sexual abuse and human trafficking charges.

Second, Duterte’s supporters in Davao City could barricade themselves to stop law enforcement agencies from serving the arrest warrants, protecting the former president.

It would be a mini-people power seen in other parts of the country when famous local leaders were removed from power or suspended in office.

Third, Duterte can escape by fleeing the country to China, where the ICC could not get him.

Trillanes said Duterte had a dry run on the third option when he suddenly flew to Hong Kong and later to Beijing, where his friend, Xi Jinping, hosted him at the State Guest House last year.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was not even hosted in a State Guest House when he visited Beijing in January 2023.

Trillanes said Duterte might have a safe house in southern China and Beijing, where he can comfortably stay without fear of being taken to The Hague to face further investigation, trial, and possible conviction.

Trillanes believed the third scenario was more likely to happen than the first two scenarios, which needed to be more sustainable.

Hiding could lead to an arrest if rewards are offered for Duterte’s whereabouts. Relatives had betrayed Saddam Hussein.

Barricading could be costly, and the people could easily be dispersed by force.

The scenarios could happen if the Marcos administration allows the ICC to take Duterte to The Haque.

Over the past months, the Dutertes have been trying to unseat Marcos from power to be replaced either by Duterte himself or his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Removing Marcos from the equation would ensure that the ICC could not serve its arrest warrant.

Duterte has been agitating the military and police to withdraw support from the president, accusing Marcos of using illegal substances or trying to change the Constitution to prolong his stay in office.

Duterte’s political allies in the Senate have opened an inquiry into a supposed leaked document from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) linking the president to an aborted drug raid and arrest.

Some hidden hands also agitated the president’s supporters to collect 1 million pesos each from the central bank, which stored 19 billion pesos in Marcos’s ill-gotten gold bullion.

There were also rumors of coup and assassination plots, which the president confirmed but did not provide specific details.

These events can force Marcos to turn against the Dutertes as the “uni-team” that catapulted Marcos and Duterte into office in May 2022 is rapidly falling apart.

There could also be pressure from civil society, business, religious groups, and his own “loyalist” forces to have Duterte arrested.

The traditional opposition, the so-called “Pink-lawan” and “Yellows,” could also join forces to see to it that the law enforcement agencies arrest Duterte.

Trillanes said a local law obliges the government to turn over an ICC fugitive to the international body for prosecution and trial.

Moreover, the Supreme Court had ruled that the ICC still had jurisdiction over the Philippines from November 2011 to March 2019, when it was still a member of the Rome Statute.

The country is also a member of the International Police Organization. It can’t turn down a request from the body if it sends a request to arrest Duterte and his accomplices once a “red notice” has been issued.

The Philippines had asked Interpol to help arrest former Negros Oriental congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr. who had fled to Timor Leste, after a local court issued an arrest warrant for the assassination of the province’s governor, Roel Degamo last year.

Duterte’s arrest is imminent and inevitable. His former spokesman, lawyer Harry Roque, claimed the former leader would not allow himself to be taken alive.

Strong and fighting words from a leader known to be a coward. He will likely flee abroad once he knows the arrest warrant has been issued.