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PH has no legal duty to help ICC, says Solgen

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The Office of the Solicitor General on Thursday declared that the Philippine government has no legal duty to cooperate in the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation of the Duterte administration’s illegal drug war.

“As far as the government is concerned, it has maintained its position that the state has no legal duty to cooperate with the ICC investigator,” Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said, in an interview.

Guevarra made the statement following reports that investigators of the ICC have arrived in the country.

Guevarra said the ICC could investigate the drug war without coming to the Philippines.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier said that members of the ICC must make contact with the government if they are already in the country.

When asked whether the ICC probers may enter the country informally, Remulla reiterated that protocol must be established if their investigation will be used legally.

The Philippines, under then-President Rodrigo Duterte, withdrew from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, in 2019 after the tribunal began a probe into the drug war, followed by a formal inquiry in September 2021.

In January 2023, the ICC authorized the reopening of the inquiry after it was suspended in November 2021.

Senator  Ronald Dela Rosa meanwhile again said that the ICC has no jurisdiction to investigate the Duterte administration’s bloody drug war. 

Dela Rosa was responding to a query asking if he had already been contacted by ICC prosecutors who are reportedly in the country for the said investigation. 

Being the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief when the drug war was carried out, Dela Rosa was among the respondents in the ICC probe along with former President Rodrigo Duterte. 

 Dela Rosa said he remains “unconvinced” by the statement of lawyer Harry Roque that the ICC prosecutors already entered the  Philippines. 

“Well, if they are already here, there’s nothing we can do. But as far as I know, that is only one source of information and that should be validated and confirmed,” he said.  “So far, I just heard it from  Atty. Harry Roque, no other (person).” With Macon Ramos-Araneta


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