Hontiveros files resolution seeking admin assistance for ICC’s drug war probe

Senator Risa Hontiveros
Senator Risa Hontiveros (Photo from Risa Hontiveros Facebook)

SENATOR Risa Hontiveros filed on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, a resolution urging Malacañang to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) which seeks to probe the human rights situation in the country amid claims of violations due to the controversial drug war of the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution No. 867 where she noted President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s stern commitment to uphold human rights in the country amid his leadership.

(Photo from Risa Hontiveros Facebook)

"The best way for Malacañang to show its commitment to upholding human rights is to work with the ICC in securing justice for human rights violations victims, and in upgrading mechanisms of human rights protections in the Philippines. Ayon sa mga pinakahuling pahayag ng Pangulo, mukhang posible itong kooperasyon na matagal nang hinihingi ng mga biktima ng human rights violations at ng kanilang pamilya (According to the latest statements of the President, it seems that cooperation, which has long been sought by victims of human rights violations and their families, may now be possible.)," she said.

Hontiveros said the country’s withdrawal of membership to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC does not mean that the country no longer has any obligation to cooperate with the international tribunal.

She cited Article 172(2) of the Rome Statute, which provides that "withdrawal shall not affect any cooperation with the Court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings in relation to which the withdrawing State had a duty to cooperate and which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective, nor shall it prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter which was already under consideration by the Court prior."

The opposition senator also noted a Supreme Court ruling where it declared that the Philippine's withdrawal to the statute "does not undermine or diminish the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction and power to continue a probe that it has commenced while a state was a party to the Rome Statute," and "does not discharge a state party from the obligations it has incurred as a member."

"The Philippines has historically been at the forefront of advancing humanitarian law and international justice, and it is high time that we affirm our commitment to these values before the international community," Hontiveros' resolution read.

"The recent pronouncements by the President, his allies and his deputies offer hope for a "gamechanger" for the families of Kian delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, Reynaldo "Kulot" de Guzman, and thousands of other Filipino families seeking justice for human rights violations. Sana ay hudyat na ito ng mas matibay na pagpapahalaga ng pamahalaan sa hustisya at karapatang pantao - at hindi pakitang tao lamang (I hope this serves as a signal of the government's stronger commitment to justice and human rights, and not just a mere show.)," she added.

Earlier, Marcos said they are currently studying the possible return of the Philippines to the fold of the ICC.

However, Marcos maintained that the ICC has no jurisdiction to conduct its investigation into the drug war where over 6,000 alleged drug personalities were killed, noting that the country has a functioning judicial system.

“But as I have always said, there are still some problems in terms of jurisdiction and sovereignty. Now, if you can solve those problems then that would be something else. But, medyo fundamental ‘yung mga question na ganun,” Marcos told reporters on Friday, November 24.

“Simple lang para sa akin. Simple lang naman ‘yang isyung ‘yan. Hindi naman siguro tama na ang mga tiga-labas, mga dayuhan ang magsasabi sa atin kung sino iimbestigahan ng pulis natin, sino aarestuhin ng pulis natin, sinong ikukulong ng pulis natin. Hindi naman siguro tama ‘yun,” he added.

(For me, it's simple. It's probably not right for outsiders, foreigners, to dictate to us who our police should investigate, arrest, or imprison. I don't think that's right.)

Marcos made the statement as some members of the House of Representatives have called on government agencies to assist the ICC probe into the Duterte administration’s war on drugs particularly from 2011 when Duterte was then the Davao City mayor to March 16, 2019 when he ordered the country’s disengagement from the Rome Statute.

On Monday, November 27, former chief Philippine National Police now Senator Ronald dela Rosa, the chief implementer of Duterte’s drug war, said the Marcos administration cannot unilaterally rejoin the ICC as it needed to be concurred by the Senate by two-thirds vote.


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