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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

House leader echoes Makabayan Bloc’s calls for Marcos to support ICC probe vs Duterte

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A congressional leader on Tuesday led the filing of a resolution urging President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity committed in the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the past administration.

Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr, chair of the House committee on human rights, and 1-Rider Rep. Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez filed House Resolution 1477, to appeal the Marcos administration “to extend their full cooperation to the ICC Prosecutor” in its investigation of any crimes committed under its jurisdiction.

Abante and Gutierrez are both members of the House majority bloc.

The resolution noted that the ICC’s jurisdiction includes but is not limited to “the crime against humanity of murder, committed in the Philippines in the context of the so-called `war on drugs’ campaign.”

HR 1477 supports the earlier resolution filed by the Makabayan Bloc which also wants the present government to take part in the ICC investigation on the issue.

“The timing is not actually a good timing, this is now to correct the perception of the ICC — To me, our criminal justice system is still credible,” Abante, chair of the human rights panel, told ANC’s “Headstart”.

Abante added: “I still trust the criminal justice system, so by cooperating with the ICC, we strengthen our commitment to transparency and accountability.”

He said the resolution, filed alongside 1-Rider party-list Rep. Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez, is “also about protecting the human rights of those being investigated.”

The resolution comes 15 days after the House approved another resolution in defense of the chamber from insinuations of corruption from former President Rodrigo Duterte and as rumors swirl of a rift in the administration UniTeam coalition.

In February, Duterte’s allies filed a resolution expressing an “unequivocal defense” of Duterte and the drug war, where law enforcement has acknowledged the deaths of thousands in anti-narcotics operations.

That resolution was led by including Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was removed as a deputy speaker earlier this month.

“I still believe in the former President’s leadership,” Abante, a former House minority leader, said, adding cooperation with the ICC “shows that we are willing to address allegations head on.”

Abante acknowledged that there may not be enough support for the resolution to hurdle the committee level and that even if the House adopts it, it will not be binding on the executive branch.

“Sa akin, I have done my part in asking the Philippine government to extend their full cooperation to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC,” he said.

The Philippines in 2019 left the ICC, a court of last resort for when national authorities cannot or are unwilling to prosecute crimes against humanity.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said Tuesday that the proposal “needs serious study” and stressed that the Philippines is no longer part of the ICC.

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