MANILA, Philippines – On whether the Philippines will cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into the drug war, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said it “requires serious study.”
Remulla was reacting to a resolution filed by Manila 6th District Representative Bienvenido Abante Jr. calling on various departments of the executive branch to cooperate with the ICC.
“[This] needs serious analysis from us at the DOJ (Department of Justice), given that we are no longer a member,” Remulla said in a message to reporters.
According to the Department of Justice, there is no need to allow ICC to enter the country.
“Why do you leave it to others to judge your own nation,” Remulla said during an October 1 press conference. 25/2023.
(We must be careful. If your country has a justice system, why would you entrust the judgment of your nation to others?)
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The country is no longer a state party to the ICC Rome Statute. On March 16, 2018, the Philippines filed a notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute after the ICC prosecutor opened a preliminary investigation into Duterte’s crimes against humanity.
The recall became official on March 17, 2019.
Retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said that despite the withdrawal, the Supreme Court itself found that the Philippines still had an obligation to cooperate with the ICC because the alleged violations occurred while the country was still a member.
“Let me just draw your attention to the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) in this case, according to the decision of the Supreme Court, although the withdrawal of the Philippines from the Rome Statute and the ICC took effect on the specified date, the Philippines has an obligation to comply, cooperate with the ICC in connection with acts committed before our withdrawal,” Carpio said.
But for Remulla, part of the Supreme Court’s ruling is obiter, or opinion.
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The head of the Justice Department said he would wait to see how the deliberations in Congress unfold. Even before the Abante resolution, the Makabayan bloc had called on the Marcos administration to cooperate with the ICC investigation.