Former Senator Leila de Lima, detained at a police camp for drug raps, must have been incarcerated for such a long time that she seems to be getting delirious enough to think people will believe the nonsense she peddles as gospel truth.
Perhaps, another reason for her behavior is her probable trauma from her failure to get re-elected in the May 2022 polls.
Last month, de Lima made a public statement the warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin recently issued by the discredited International Criminal Court (ICC) should prompt the Philippines to rejoin the ICC.
To those in the know, the ICC was created by the Rome Statute, an international treaty that took effect in July 2002.
The Philippines became a signatory to the treaty in 2011, but it formally withdrew in 2018. Its withdrawal took effect a year later.
Because the Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, the ICC can no longer exercise jurisdiction over the Philippines. Any ICC overture to that effect will be a violation of Philippine sovereignty.
The Secretary of Justice, Jesus Crispin Remulla, subscribes to that view, and says the Philippines will not allow the ICC to trample upon our nation’s sovereignty.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. fully supports Remulla’s position, and asserts the ICC has no business operating in the Philippines precisely because of its withdrawal from the Rome Statute.
De Lima said the arrest order against Putin ought to prompt the Philippine government to rejoin the Rome Statute because rejoining will be a “most profound step in joining once again the overall struggle for international criminal justice.”
She added the ICC issues arrest orders in the exercise of its “moral institutional power” to rally member states “to work together against tyrants and butchers who commit irreversible assaults against humanity.”
In an obvious reference to ex-President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, a staunch opponent of the detained senator, de Lima also warned that protecting “our own tyrant from accountability” will take the Philippines “nowhere but the widening path to impunity.”
Incidentally, de Lima is obviously livid at President Duterte because she was detained during his administration, which waged an all out war against drug syndicates in the Philippines.
The ex-senator’s current detention has been authorized by the Supreme Court.
De Lima may not be aware of it, but her statement is sheer nonsense.
First, the warrant of arrest issued by the ICC against Putin has no significance in international law because Russia has not ratified its inclusion in the Rome Statute.
How on earth then can an arrest order of the ICC be carried out against Putin?
Second, there is manifestly no connection between a legally unenforceable arrest order issued against Putin and the supposed need for the Philippines to rejoin the Rome Statute.
What de Lima said, therefore, is not only nonsense; it’s a clear example of non sequitur.
Third, de Lima suggests that ex-President Duterte is a tyrant, but she conveniently failed to state that Duterte was overwhelmingly elected to the presidency in 2016, and that he stepped down from office at the official end of his term in 2022.
Tyrants do not step down from power voluntarily.
During Duterte’s administration, press freedom was alive and kicking; the political opposition was free to operate; and the Supreme Court and the lower courts were open and functioning.
Those fundamental freedoms would not exist during the Duterte administration if Duterte was the tyrant de Lima imagines him to be.
For the record, President Duterte is not facing any criminal charges in Philippine courts.
In contrast, it’s de Lima who is currently behind bars and, as I mentioned earlier, her continued detention has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
This fact already confirms that de Lima’s statement is pure rubbish.
As expected, only a few hopelessly die-hard anti-Duterte personalities are echoing de Lima’s nonsense. One of them is party-list Representative France Castro of ACT Teachers, which observers consider as sympathetic to radical elements.
Only a few misguided people listen to Castro and her kind anyway.
Even assuming that the Philippines did not withdraw from the Rome Statute, the ICC still cannot exercise jurisdiction over the Philippines because the ICC can only enter the Philippine legal scenario if the justice system in this country is a failure.
Regarding that matter, several members of the House of Representatives of Congress led by Pampanga solon Gloria Macapagal Arroyo recently filed a resolution declaring that the justice system in the country under President Marcos is functioning and independent.
This is evident from the fact that today, press freedom, free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of worship, freedom of travel and other fundamental freedoms remain in force throughout the country, and the Supreme Court continues to operate independently.
Undoubtedly, only Representative Castro believes de Lima’s nonsense.