ICC response will be defined by PBBM

The government’s response to the deadline set by the International Criminal Court to comment on the proposed reopening of the court’s investigation of the war on drugs of former President Rodrigo Duterte will have to come from President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra Saturday said the government will leave it to the Chief Executive to define the policy and the government’s action in light of the ICC’s 8 September deadline to submit additional observations related to the signature campaign of the Duterte administration.

“Yes, the prospective ICC investigation has been the subject of discussions at the highest levels of government. We are practically unanimous on how we shall deal with it. But I’ll leave it to the president to make the appropriate statement in the light of the deadline set by the ICC on 8 September for the submission of any further comment or observation on the part of the Philippine government,” he said.

ICC judges invited the Philippine government last month to provide observations on Prosecutor Karim Khan’s request to allow the resumption of a preliminary investigation into alleged crimes against humanity in relation to the war against illegal drugs.

Khan has until 22 September to relay “factual arguments” from the Philippine government that it was already investigating or had investigated the alleged “criminal acts” that might be under ICC jurisdiction.

Guevarra earlier said there are sovereignty issues involved that needed to be covered in responding to the ICC ultimatum.

Distorted data

Government data showed at least 6,000 people were killed during anti-drug operations by the police during Duterte’s term from 2016 to 2022 contrary to the 30,000 figure submitted to the ICC by Antonio Trillanes IV.

The Philippine government withdrew from the ICC in March 2018, which then took effect in March 2019. Philippine officials asserted the country has its own functioning justice system.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said the Philippines “has no intention” of rejoining the ICC.

Even Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla said the Philippines will not be a pariah if it stands by its decision not to rejoin the ICC.

“The US, Russia, and China are not members of the ICC, but they are not pariahs to other nations. It’s our choice not to join, we don’t need to follow the trend,” Remulla was earlier quoted as saying.

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