Don’t malign justice system, solon told

Instead of maligning the judicial system, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raoul Manuel should just focus on his job as a lawmaker in the House of Representatives.

Thus, said Prosecutor 2 Flosemer Chris Gonzales reacting to Manuel’s recent statement that the reason drug war cases have been filed before the International Criminal Court (ICC) is the country’s justice system is not dependable.

“Clearly, Raoul Manuel fails to grasp the consequences of his irresponsible statement. Let this be made clear, the President deems it best for the Philippines not to be a member of the ICC,” Gonzales said on Saturday.

Manuel, he said, owes the Philippine judicial system an apology

“This statement is an affront to the men and women comprising the judicial system in the Philippines,” he added.

Gonzales, who is National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) spokesperson for legal affairs, said the anti-insurgency body fully supports President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s pronouncement on 1 August on not rejoining the ICC.

The Philippine justice system is competent and capable of interpreting our laws and dispensing the same without fear or favor, he said.

“The Philippines remains a country that is governed by laws, where no one is above the law, and where the law applies to all. The Philippines believes in the supremacy of the Constitution and the state upholds the majesty of the law,” he added.

Judicial independence, he said, is very much alive in our country, and is functioning according to its mandate.

Refocus priorities

Manuel should refocus his priorities on peace-building efforts particularly by helping the government put an end to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) terrorist organization by supporting proposed bills that would develop and enhance the patriotic spirit of the Filipino youth.

“He can support the proposed ROTC bill, the bill for the institutionalization of the NTF ELCAC, and Senate Bill No. 201 proposed by Senator Bato de la Rosa, among others. He can also propose a bill criminalizing the recruitment of children by a terrorist organization and by the allied front organizations of the said terrorist organization,” Gonzales said.

He said Manuel can start small by condemning first the atrocities committed by communist groups and allied front organizations, particularly the recruitment of children, students, and young indigenous peoples.

“We do not need the ICC to prosecute the crimes of the single biggest criminal and terrorist organization in this country, the CPP-NPA-NDF,” he said.

Gonzales said the failure of Manuel to heed the simple suggestions would put in question the latter’s mandate to represent the welfare and the best interests of the youth in Congress.

“For us and for the millions of Filipino parents who want peace, we want to see the end of the local communist armed conflict in our lifetime so that our children can live in a society where peace, justice, and solidarity reign supreme,” he said.

The Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC, took effect on 17 March 2019, exactly a year after President Rodrigo Duterte canceled the country’s membership just weeks after the ICC’s prosecutor announced a preliminary examination into thousands of killings in the anti-drugs campaign.

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