ICC posturing: Assault to country’s sovereignty (1)

Despite the unequivocal, assertive and consistent position of the Philippine government under former president Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the International Criminal Court (ICC) of Justice is vexingly intransigent in forcing our country to be under its jurisdiction. Such posturing and intrusion not only are in violation of our Constitution, but are an assault to our sovereignty and must therefore be repulsed by our government.

The ICC’s bullheaded attempts at placing our country under its jurisdiction are likewise a flagrant and gross transgression of the very Rome Statute that created it.

This writer has repeatedly and on many occasions, as former presidential spokesperson and chief presidential legal counsel of former president Duterte, articulated on the position espoused by the latter that the ICC never acquired jurisdiction over the country and, for that matter, over his person.

The former chief executive’s legal theory finds support in the Constitution and New Civil Code, as well as in the Supreme Court decision in Tañada vs Tuvera (GR L-63915, 29 December 1986).

Under the Constitution, before a person can be deprived of life, liberty or property, due process must be accorded him/her, to wit:

“No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws (Article III, Section 1, Constitution).”

“No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law (Section 14(1), Article III, Constitution).”

Due process simply means, “it hears before it condemns.” Stated otherwise, the person subject of deprivation of life, liberty or property must be given his day in court. The act leading to such divestiture must be clearly defined by law and must be known to him prior. Relative thereto, our Constitution, apart from granting such person the presumption of innocence, it guarantees as well the right to be informed of the nature of the accusation against him/her, to wit:

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him… (Section 14(2), Article III, Constitution).”

Pursuant to the aforegoing constitutional provisions and to give life to the due process clause, it is mandated by law that laws to be effective and enforceable shall be published in the Official Gazette, to wit:

“Laws shall take effect after 15 days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided… (Article 2, New Civil Code).”

Hereunder are the salient portions of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Tuvera vs Tañada, holding that without the enacted law being published in the Official Gazette, the same is ineffective and unenforceable.

(To be continued)

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