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Sunday, May 19, 2024

PH stand on ICC drug war probe remains unchanged—Remulla

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PRESIDENT Marcos’ stance against the investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the bloody drug war during the previous administration has remained unchanged, according to  Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla.

“It’s a policy that will not be changed just like that. We owe it to our people to be forthcoming about everything that we do and what we say,” Remulla told reporters on Monday.

There has been an apparent rift between Marcos and former President Rodrigo Duterte, with the latter hurling verbal attacks against his successor.

Duterte even charged that moves amend the 1987 Constitution were meant for Mr. Marcos to perpetuate himself in power.

Remulla pointed out however that the ICC cannot conduct any investigation in the country and the government cannot offer its cooperation because the Philippines is no longer a member of the international body.

Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV had earlier claimed that the ICC may issue arrest warrants after concluding its probe against those accused of crimes against humanity,  including Duterte.

The ICC alleged that abuses during the controversial drug war including extra judicial killings were committed under the Duterte administration.

On claims that ICC investigators have been in the country, Remulla maintained that “they (ICC probers) have not made contact with the DOJ.”

On orders by then President Duterte in 2018, the Philippines withdrew  as a signatory to the Rome Statute that created the ICC, in effect also giving up its membership in the ICC.

Early on, pro-administration lawmakers said Duterte should not be afraid to face the ICC for alleged human rights violations during his watch.

Reps. Ernesto Dionisio of Manila, Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte,, and Francisco Paolo Ortega of La Union maintained however, that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines, echoing what Marcos recently declared.

“Personally, I, like all of us congressmen here, stand with the President that ICC really has no jurisdiction (in the Philippines). But if you have nothing to hide – more or less – why will you be afraid when ICC comes in?” Dionisio said.

Dimaporo, chairman of the House Committee on Muslim Affairs, raised the same concern. “If there is nothing to hide, then why fear the ICC?”

“On the part of the President, it’s more of our national sovereignty that our institutions are still functioning,” he added.

The Mindanao legislator said there was no need for the ICC to come over and investigate alleged thousands of cases of extrajudicial killings on the basis that the country’s democratic institutions – like the police and the judiciary – are perfectly functioning.

“I don’t believe it will be a detriment on the part of the Philippine government to have it confirmed by the ICC – whether there was or whether there was not any extra-judicial killings during the concept on the war on drugs of the previous administration,” Dimaporo added.

Ortega, for his part, said he understands why 59 percent of the respondents in the latest OCTA survey supported an ICC probe.

“We stand with the decision of the President, but we also respect the survey. Perhaps people are seeing the irregularities, and these will really come out in surveys,” he said.

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