We really do not know whether the so-called International Criminal Court, sometimes called the Statute of Rome, is a legacy or a residue of man’s inhumanity to man now trying to covet the rules of international law and wanting to usurp the UN Charter.
There is much reservation about the ICC that some say that it is being operated by countries that carried out the most ruthless and barbaric form of colonialism with a trail of oppression and slavery. The ICC’s birth was, at the outset, stained with blood with its principal architects, mostly European states, renewing their call for peace after their military organization called Nato collectively and murderously pounded Serbia in 1998.
Before going to the issue of ICC wanting to conduct a preliminary examination on the alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects by the Duterte administration, it is best for us to re-examine whether our membership as approved by former President Joseph Estrada and ratified by the Senate through the adulated effort of the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, was valid.
In fact, many are wondering why, in the land where there are so many lawyers just as there are plenty of violators, failed to bring this issue to the Supreme Court not exactly on the validity of our membership but whether our joining the ICC violated our Constitution.
Our leaders are so gullible to believe that everything that is choked into our throat by an international organization is legitimate because of the title they accorded to it. Our former president, a senator who claims to be an international relations expert and Senator Loren Legarda, for their fealty to the West, rushed to ratify it. Unfortunately, as soon as they accomplished their assignment, their patron forgot everything it promised by renewing its alliance with the opposition in seeking the ouster of Estrada and dumping into the trash can their promise to endorse Santiago to become a member of the ICJ.
While the Senate need to ratify a treaty or international agreement under Section 21 of Article VII of the Constitution, its ratification can never be interpreted as automatic. Neither can the ICC assume that we have waived our jurisdiction over our citizens to be tried abroad even before our local courts could indict them for alleged crimes which may not even exist in our penal code. The issue is not so much in determining the guilt or innocence of our accused citizen, but in asserting our right as an independent and sovereign state that through our courts, we have the sole and exclusive power to try and hear our citizen or any citizen who stands accused of violating our penal laws.
Our leaders and lawmakers can never assume that we have impliedly waived our sovereignty by virtue of our membership. Our adherence to ICC was a blatant violation of our Constitution. Humbug lawyers can never argue that our membership is pursuant and consistent to Section 2, Article II which states, to quote: “The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land” because nobody in his right mind can call it an international agreement for the fact that of the 270 states that exist on our planet today, only 121 are members.
More than that, we are the only Asean country that joined it. Of the 10 active cases currently handled by ICC, nine are African leaders, which means that Africa today is being tried by its former colonizers that once plundered their resources and enslaved them. The US, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey which stand as either economically powerful, politically influential, or has a large population are not members of that imperialist-sponsored Kangaroo Court.
We are appalled at why presidential spokesman and human rights lawyer, Harry Roque, insisted that our adherence is based on the “principle of complementarity,” meaning the ICC can intervene to assume jurisdiction if our local courts are unable to enforce the law. Where on hell did the promoters of the ICC get the idea that there is a breakdown of law and order in this country? Logic will tell that if there is a breakdown in our judicial processes, the ICC should run after the violators of the law, and not against those who are desperately trying to contain the menace of drug addiction that has been the principal source of so many crimes in this country. The trouble is that the ICC has already prejudged our situation to make it ripe for them to intervene in the guise of enforcing the law.
Our membership to the ICC clearly indicates that many of our leaders do not value our independence as a sovereign state or understand what patriotism is. Most outrageous, we will be forced to surrender the custody of our citizen to a foreign court before we could even conduct our own preliminary investigation like what this stupid browbeating lawyer did in filing a complaint on behalf of a self-confessed murderer named Edgar Matobato. Common sense will tell us that one cannot prosecute anybody for the act committed by this deranged self-confessed killer until after he admitted and identified the persons he killed, when, where and how he killed them before pointing to Duterte as the one who allegedly gave him the order to kill.
Even if the Senate has approved our membership, they ought to know that jurisdiction is integral to our sovereignty, such that our courts would react if they are deprived or diminished of their jurisdiction on the power to try cases brought to them. This is clear in Section 5, Article VII, which says that “The Supreme Court shall have the following powers (to) Review, revise, reverse, modify or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in all cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance or regulation is in question.”
For this most stupid decision, we now find ourselves trapped in a cage where our elected president could be possibly tried in an alleged international criminal court created by countries that continue the dual policy of defying international law and committing aggression.