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Saturday, April 13, 2024

No need for Marcos memo on ICC arrest warrant vs. Rody — SolGen

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There is no need for President Marcos to issue a memorandum enjoining all government agencies from implementing any arrest warrant against former President Rodrigo Duterte that may be issued by the International Criminal Court, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said Wednesday.

In a text message, Guevarra stressed that Mr. Marcos’ public statements can already be considered as a directive to all government agencies.

“The President’s repeated public statements are as good and effective as any written memorandum circular,” Guevarra explained.

The Solicitor General was responding to the appeal of Duterte’s spokesman, lawyer Harry Roque, for Mr. Marcos to issue an order prohibiting all agencies including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) from cooperating with the ICC.

Roque had earlier disclosed during his Facebook live podcast that the former president had information he may be arrested at any time to face charges related to the extrajudicial killings that took place during his war against illegal drugs.

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Mr. Marcos has repeatedly said that the ICC has lost jurisdiction over the Philippines after Duterte decided to withdraw its membership in 2019.

“Let me say this for the 100th time. I do not recognize the jurisdiction of ICC in the Philippines. I do not, I consider it as a threat to our sovereignty. The Philippine government will not lift a finger to help any investigation that the ICC conducts,” the President said then.

Meanwhile, the PNP on Wednesday said it would not enforce any arrest warrant that would be issued by the ICC against Duterte.

“The President and the Department of Justice have already spoken and we support that stand. For all intents and purposes, the ICC has no jurisdiction over us, they could issue a WOA (warrant of arrest) to anyone but its enforcement is another thing,” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said in a press briefing at Camp Crame. 

Stressing that Mr. Marcos’ order on the matter is “very clear”, Fajardo said such an act of the ICC is an “interference in our country’s sovereignty.”

In a related development, retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Wednesday urged Duterte to cooperate with the ICC’s investigation to enable him to “present his side.”

Carpio stressed that this would be “the best thing to do” for Duterte to prove his innocence.

“He should cooperate because if you don’t show up there, then your voice is not heard, your side is not heard. So if you are innocent, you really believe you’re innocent, the best thing to do is to go there and present your side,” Carpio said.

Citing a Supreme Court decision, Carpio also said that the Philippines still has an obligation to cooperate with the ICC because the alleged crimes against humanity were committed before the country withdrew from the Rome Statute.

“We are no longer a member state. But I think the decision of the Supreme Court said that since the offense… happened while we were members of ICC, we are obliged to cooperate up to now. That cooperation may include implementing the warrant of arrest,” Carpio added.

“That’s a new issue whether we are obliged to implement the warrant of arrest considering that the alleged crimes happened while we were members of ICC,” he added.

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