Philippines’ return to ICC ‘under study’

Philippines’ return to ICC ‘under study’
Photo from Presidential Communications Office

“SHOULD we return under the fold of the ICC? So, that’s again under study.”

This was the statement made by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as he reiterated Friday, November 24, 2023, that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to conduct an investigation on former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

Marcos said the Philippines’ judicial system is well-functioning and can handle the case.

“So, we’ll just keep looking at it and see what our options are,” he said Friday during a media interview following an event he attended in Taguig City.

Marcos’ statement came after he was asked about the resolutions filed by some lawmakers at the House of Representatives asking the government to cooperate with the ICC probe into Duterte’s drug war.

He said the House resolutions were "not unusual."

"They (lawmakers) are just expressing or manifesting the sense of the House that perhaps it is time to allow or to cooperate with the ICC investigations," he said.

“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,” he told reporters.

“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 said.

(The issue is simple for me. Maybe it's not right that outsiders, foreigners will tell us who our police will investigate, who our police will arrest, who our police will imprison. That's not right.)

The resolutions were filed first by Manila Representative Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr., and by Makabayan bloc lawmakers France Castro of ACT Teachers party-list, Arlene Brosas of Gabriela party-list, and Raoul Manuel of Kabataan party-list.

Marcos said the country does not need the ICC, as the Philippine authorities could investigate the previous administration’s drug war.

He said the Philippines has law enforcement and investigative agencies such as the police, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice, which are highly capable of conducting such a probe.

He added that with regards to ICC’s sovereign jurisdiction, especially after the Philippines withdrew from the Rome statute a few years back, it is now a question, whether or not this is actually possible.

The Philippines pulled out its membership from the ICC in March 2019, a year after a case was filed against Duterte.

The ICC is probing the crimes supposedly committed from November 1, 2011 when Duterte was Davao City mayor to March 16, 2019 into his presidency.

Data revealed that around 6,000 people were killed in police anti-illegal drug operations during Duterte’s term as president. The ICC prosecutors said, though, that the death toll in Duterte’s drug war was between 12,000 and 30,000. (LMY)


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