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Monday, February 26, 2024

‘Senate must OK PH rejoining ICC’

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Dela Rosa stresses ‘process’

The administration needs to secure the Senate’s approval before the country can rejoin the International Criminal Court, Senator Ronald dela Rosa said on Monday.

“If you want to rejoin, that has to go through the process. After the president’s ratification, it has to be concurred by the Senate by a two-thirds vote. So that’s the process. Back to zero, back to square one,” said Dela Rosa, a former police chief who led President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs that the ICC is investigating.

Vice President Sara Duterte, for her part, said she respects the President’s policy for the government to study a possible “return to the fold of the ICC.”

“We all should respect the position of the President being the chief architect of foreign policy. That is the position we should all take,” she said.

She, however, said she will continue reaching out to the Department of Justice to make her position on the matter involving her father known.

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“We will lay down the legal basis of our position with the DOJ,” she said.

Some 6,000 people were killed in police anti-drug operations during Duterte’s term, official government figures show, but ICC prosecutors estimate the death toll at between 12,000 and 30,000.

Asked if the Senate would likely concur with the return to ICC, Dela Rosa said: “I don’t think so. The Senate is composed of 24 independent republics. Nobody can dictate these 24 independent republics.”

In 2019, the Philippines, under then-President Duterte, withdrew from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, after the tribunal began a preliminary probe into his drug war, followed by the launch of a formal inquiry later that year.

The probe was suspended in November 2021 after the government said it was re-examining several hundred cases of drug operations.

In January 2023, the ICC authorized the reopening of the inquiry. In July, the ICC Appeals Chamber denied the government’s petition against the resumption of the inquiry.

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