Thursday August 16, 2018

Senators seek to nullify Philippines' withdrawal from ICC

International Criminal Court in session (File Photo)

OPPOSITION senators have asked the Supreme Court to nullify the Philippines' withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In a petition filed Wednesday, May 16, before the high court, the minority senators stressed that President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to pull out the Philippines as a state party to the ICC is "invalid or ineffective" for lack of Senate's concurrence.

Malacañang, however, brushed aside the call of the opposition senators and expressed confidence that the petition would not prosper.

"Good luck to them. I don't think there is no legal basis. The President remains the chief architect of foreign policy," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a chance interview.

"The Supreme Court always says that the executive remains the chief architect of foreign policy and cannot be subject of certoriari," he added.

The senators who filed the pettion were Francis Pangilinan, Frnaklin Drilon, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV.

They urged the Supreme Court to press the executive branch to cancel, revoke or withdraw its instrument of withdrawal received by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres last March.

"Compel the executive department, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations, to notify the United Nations Secretary General that it is cancelling, revoking, or withdrawing (the decision to revoke membership from ICC)," the opposition senators said.

On March 14, Duterte announced in an unsigned document that the Philippine government decided to repeal the Rome Statute, a treaty that established the ICC, following the international tribunal's supposed "brazen display of ignorance of the law."

Roque argued that Duterte's withdrawal from ICC can only be a subject of certiorari, if there is a "grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excessive jurisdiction."

"The courts will always defer to the executive on matters of foreign affairs," the Palace official said.

"The only requirement is when a treaty can become valid as part of the laws of the land. And that is through senate concurrence. There is no requirement for us to withdraw the treaty," Roque added. (SunStar Philippines)