"A withdrawal would be just right."
Pointless. This is how incoming Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin described the country’s decision to withdraw from membership in the International Criminal Court. It was Teddy Boy as the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York who served the Duterte administration’s decision to withdraw in the midst of the undiplomatic efforts of the ICC prosecutors to “investigate” possible violations in the country’s war on drugs.
In withdrawing from the ICC and the Rome Statute, then Ambassador Locsin noted: “It is my duty to give you this.. a sad day but a day sure to come because human rights has been politicized. We resisted US pressure not to join until we finally signed on, only to have it weaponized against our democracy fighting an existential threat from the drug war.”
One recalls that on a number of occasions the then-UN Human Rights Chief and a number of UN employees particularly Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard tried to bamboozle the administration into submission on its intensified drug war using, among others, data from polluted sources. At one point, Callamard even went to the extent of practically calling the Duterte administration a dictatorship, a totalitarian state which has no regard for due process and the rule of law while she was in the Philippines as an “academic.” In that speech she delivered before so-called human rights advocates and academics at the University of the Philippines, Callamard went out of her way to harangue the administration for its so-called sins and human rights violations, freely claiming that it was an academic statement not a conclusion. And to think that she was being assigned to precisely investigate the situation. Wow.
Then came another tirade from another rapporteur concluding that the Duterte war on drugs was a wholesale violation of the declaration on human rights. And they have not really begun any kind of official inquiry on the matter.
Then came the statement of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio during the hearings before the High Tribunal on the country’s withdrawal. The Senate minority group claimed was illegal and that President Duterte’s action was tantamount to grave abuse of discretion.
Senate Minority leader Frank Drilon insisted that the Chief Executive cannot by himself withdraw from a body and a convention which was concurred in by the Senate itself. Well, that seems to be ill-advised and a very narrow reading of executive action.
In any event, one cannot but agree with Ambassador/Secretary Teddy Boy that indeed there is no point with our continued stay with the ICC.
Even Justice Carpio’s contention that our withdrawal will “lessen our capability to stand up against foreign aggressors (principally China)” as we navigate our way in an increasingly highly polarized world did not wash as far as Teddy Boy is concerned.
Said Teddy Boy: “Aggression is a crime that ICC might pick up but only if the aggression is committed by an ICC member.. No serious offensive power—US, Russia, China—is a member of ICC—so doubly pointless to stay.. And ICC picks and chooses those who it thinks are easy prey to prove its usefulness.” Justice Carpio missed this point. What happened?
Anyway, it is just right that we withdrew. And it is fitting that our incoming Secretary of Foreign Affairs was the one who submitted the letter of withdrawal. For if truth be said, this issue will continue to be one of the planks of the anti-Duterte tirades, here and abroad.
They will surely get a mouthful from Teddy Boy.