Group seeks to void ICC withdrawal

A GROUP that campaigned for the Philippines' signing of the Rome Statute on Wednesday, June 13, filed a petition urging the Supreme Court to declare “void ab initio (from the beginning)” the Philippines' withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In its petition, the Philippine Coalition for the ICC said withdrawal from the ICC needs the concurrence of the Senate.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. shrugged off the petition and insisted that President Rodrigo Duterte does not need to seek the Senate’s consent to withdraw the Philippines’ membership from the ICC.

“We reiterate that the President is the chief architect of the country’s foreign policy,” said in a statement.

“The Constitution makes no mention that concurrence of the Senate is necessary to validate the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court,” he added.

The PCICC petition was filed nearly a month after minority senators urged the Supreme Court to invalidate Duterte’s move to pull out the Philippines’ membership as a state-party of the ICC.

The Senate minority bloc led by Senator Franklin Drilon, in its petition filed last May 16, argued that the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC was “invalid and ineffective” since it lacks Senate’s concurrence.

PCICC, chaired by former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales, also claimed that the President needs the Senate’s nod before issuing a notice of withdrawal from the ICC.

The President on March 14 withdrew from the Rome Statute after the ICC initiated a preliminary examination of the alleged crimes against humanity committed by Duterte amid his anti-narcotics crackdown.

The ICC's initial review of Duterte's supposed human rights violation stemmed from the communication sent by Jude Sabio, lawyer of self-confessed Davao Death Squad member Edgard Matobato.

Sabio, in his communication, accused Duterte of being behind the deaths of 1,400 people in Davao City during his mayorship and of 7,000 suspected drug personalities killed since he assumed presidency in June 2016.

Roque shrugged off the PCICC’s petition, as he expressed confidence that it would not prosper.

“Again, this is not an issue that can be addressed by a certiorari. Hence, the courts must defer matters on foreign affairs to the Executive,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)


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