The Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court will take effect on March 17 due to the lack of an injunction from the Supreme Court as sought by opposition lawmakers.
This became apparent after the 15-member bench failed to resolve the consolidated petitions filed by six opposition senators and the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court led by former Commission on Human Rights chairman Loretta Rosales.
Court insiders said the high court’s justices did not tackle the case in their regular session on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the conviction of three police officers in the killing of teenager Kian delos Santos is not enough to stop the International Criminal Court’s own investigation on the suspected extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, a lawyer said Tuesday.
Gilbert Andres, one of the counsels of the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court, said all alleged extrajudicial killings must be investigated and prosecuted by the government for the ICC’s own investigation on the Philippine war on drugs not to prosper.
“One will not suffice. The Kian Delos Santos case will not suffice,” Andres told ANC’s Early Edition.
“It should be all the recognized EJKs by the government as well as those which were not recognized by the government.”
Opposition Senators Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Leila de Lima, Bam Aquino, Antonio Trillanes IV and Risa Hontiveros and the PCICC had sought the issuance of a writ of mandamus compelling the executive department to take back the withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute, a United Nations treaty creating the ICC.
A high court insider said the absence of any restraining order or injunction from the high court meant the withdrawal of the Philippine government from the ICC could take effect as scheduled.
“The withdrawal from ICC takes effect without prejudice to the Supreme Court resolving the petitions later on and ruling on the prayer for issuance of a writ of mandamus,” the source said.
The petitioners questioned the withdrawal of the Duterte administration from the government’s ICC membership, alleging that it violated the Constitution that requires the ratification of treaties and international agreements by the Senate.
They specifically cited Article VII Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution, which says “entering into treaty or international agreement requires participation of Congress, that is, through concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.”
However, Solicitor General Jose Calida has defended the withdrawal from the ICC and asked the high court to dismiss the petitions for lack of merit.
The chief state lawyer said the high court no longer had jurisdiction over the matter after the ICC officially accepted the Philippine government’s withdrawal last year.
Calida said the withdrawal from the ICC was within the power of the President and did not violate the 1987 Constitution.
He disputed the main argument of the petitioners that the Palace violated Section 21, Article VII of the Constitution that requires the concurrence of the Senate in international treaties.
That provision says “entering into treaty or international agreement requires participation of Congress, that is, through concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.”
Calida said such provision and constitutional requirement applied only in the ratification of new treaties and did not apply to the withdrawal from treaties.
He also assailed the petitions for citing the rulings of the South African and United Kingdom Supreme Courts on similar cases, which he said were inapplicable in Philippine jurisprudence.