PBBM shuts door on PHL’s returning to ICC

THERE is no going back for the country when it comes to its decision to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr.

During the Pinas Lakas event in Pasig City on Monday, Marcos announced he will not reverse the decision of former President Rodrigo R. Duterte to leave the Hague-based international tribunal.

“The Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC,” Marcos said.
     The country officially withdrew its ICC membership on 17 March 2022 after the tribunal started investigating the mounting fatalities in the government’s war against illegal drugs.

The ICC, however, maintained it can continue to look into the matter since the probe started before the membership withdrawal took effect.

Duterte strongly opposed the ICC intervention, which he maintains is unnecessary since local authorities and courts are already conducting their investigation on the drug-related deaths.

The planned ICC probe was temporarily suspended in November upon the request of the Philippine government, but last June, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan announced their plan to push through with the investigation.

The ICC gave the government until September 8, 2022 to comment on the matter.

During the weekend, Marcos met with his legal counsel to determine how the government will respond to the probe.

Among those at the meeting were Executive Secretary Victor D. Rodriguez, Solicitor General Menardo I. Guevarra, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile and former presidential spokesperson Hermino “Harry” L. Roque.

“The ICC is a very different kind of a court so we are studying first what we will do. I told them to study the procedures to make sure our action will be correct and not be misinterpreted,” Marcos said in Filipino.

Among the options they are considering, Marcos said, is to respond to ICC’s call or to ignore it and maintain the position that the Philippines is no longer under the international tribunal’s jurisdiction.