Hontiveros files reso urging Marcos admin to cooperate with ICC

hontiveros files reso urging marcos admin to cooperate with icc

international criminal court icc

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday filed a resolution urging the Marcos administration to cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation into the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

“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 said in proposed Senate Resolution 867.

“Now therefore, be it resolved as it is hereby resolved that the Senate of the Philippines urges the Executive Department of the Republic of the Philippines to cooperate with the International Criminal Court and assist in the ICC investigation into the situation in the Philippines,” she added.

The Senate resolution came a week after a similar resolution was filed in the House of Representatives.

Following the House resolution, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said that returning under the fold of the ICC is “under study” — a statement which appears to contradict his earlier pronouncement that he would not cooperate with the international court’s inquiry into the drug war implemented by his predecessor.

While he made a softer stance on the issue, Marcos pointed out that there are problems with regards to the international tribunal’s jurisdiction over the Philippines.

In her resolution, Hontiveros noted ICC’s statement which indicated that it “retains jurisdiction with respect to alleged crimes that occurred on the territory of the Philippines while it was a State Party.”

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.”

Further, Hontiveros cited Supreme Court jurisprudence on the case of Pangilinan v. Cayetano which confirmed that the Philippines’ withdrawal “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 obligation it has incurred as a member…Whatever process was already initiated before the International Criminal Court obliged the state party to cooperate.”

‘No jurisdiction’

In a text message, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who earlier tagged himself as the “number two accused” in the ICC probe, said he has been expecting Hontiveros to file such a resolution but he believes that this will not gain support.

“I don’t think it will gain traction with the President’s stand not to allow the ICC to conduct their investigation in our jurisdiction,” Dela Rosa said.

Senator Imee Marcos, the older sister of the president, maintained that ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines.

“So they really want trouble? Well, PRRD (former President Rodrigo Duterte) has said ‘Bring it on!’  But the decision to cooperate or not to, is one for the Executive, and my brother, the President of the Philippines, has already made it clear that the ICC has no jurisdiction to conduct the probe. I share that view,” she said.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri shared the same view that it is up to Marcos to decide on the possible return to the ICC.

“He alone makes that decision and everything else is just noise on whether we should join or not. Therefore I do not want to comment and shall just wait for President BBM to make a decision on that matter,” Zubiri said.

The ICC Appeals Chamber had denied the Philippine government’s appeal to stop the ICC probe on the drug war because the Philippines failed to prove to the ICC that a legitimate investigation on the drug war killings and the prosecution of the perpetrators were being undertaken by Philippine authorities.

The ICC Prosecutor Pre-Trial chamber earlier observed, as regards to the drug war, that “the available material indicates, to the required standard, that a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population took place pursuant to or in furtherance of a State policy, within the meaning of Article 7(1) and (2)(a) of the Statute.”

Statistics vary depending on sources but according to Human Rights Watch, Duterte’s war on drugs resulted in the deaths of more than 12,000 Filipinos, mostly from the urban poor. —KBK/RSJ, GMA Integrated News

This article Hontiveros files reso urging Marcos admin to cooperate with ICC was originally published in GMA News Online.

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