ICC pullout: Roque’s ex-allies take on Malacañang at Supreme Court

Lian Buan
ICC pullout: Roque’s ex-allies take on Malacañang at Supreme Court

LeAnne Jazul

The Supreme Court consolidates the petitions of the Philippine Coalition for the ICC and minority senators. Senator Leila de Lima also appeals to be allowed to join oral arguments.

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque will see some familiar faces at the Supreme Court (SC) when Malacañang defends President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to pull out the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The SC has taken on the petition filed by the Philippine Coalition for the ICC (PCICC) questioning the withdrawal, and included the group in the oral arguments which have been rescheduled to August 7.

In a notice received by the parties on Wednesday, June 27, the Supreme Court required the government to answer the petition filed by the PCICC.

Roque used to co-chair the PCICC. The group is represented by Roque’s former colleagues in international law; Ray Paolo Santiago, the PCICC’s chairperson; Romel Bagares, Roque’s former chief of staff at the House of Representatives and who teaches international law at Lyceum University; and Gilbert Andres from the Center for International Law, a firm co-founded by Roque.

The PCICC’s petition named Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Teodoro Locsin Jr as respondents.

Duterte withdrew the Philippines’ membership in the ICC in March as a reaction to the preliminary examinations being conducted against him by the ICC Prosecutor in relation to his bloody war on drugs.

FILED. Axle Simeon, Romel Bagares, and Rebecca Desiree Lozada from the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC) file a petition asking the Supreme Court to void President Rodrigo Duterte’s withdrawal from the ICC. Photo by Lian Buan/Rappler


The PCICC’s petition is consolidated with an earlier petition filed by minority Senators Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV, and the detained Leila de Lima.

The minority senators want the SC to clarify whether a withdrawal from a treaty needs the concurrence of the Senate – which the government did not secure.

The PCICC’s petition ventures into other arguments that essentially asks the SC not to recognize Duterte’s grounds for withdrawing from the ICC, such as the preliminary examinations of the ICC prosecutor.

The PCICC said the preliminary examination adheres to Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity.

READ Rappler’s explainers:
Yes, Int’l Criminal Court can prosecute Duterte for killing spree

Police, military officials liable for Duterte’s illegal kill orders
What challenges will complaint vs Duterte face before ICC?
ICC’s track record and what it means for Duterte and the PH

De Lima’s motion

Meanwhile, in a motion filed with the SC on June 25, De Lima asked the High Court to allow her to participate in the August 7 oral arguments.

De Lima cited an earlier SC ruling which allows a litigant “to personally do everything in the progress of the action from commencement to the termination of the litigation.”

This is a curious move on the part of the De Lima camp because to ask for a furlough, she has to usually request it at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) that exercises primary jurisdiction over her.

De Lima’s camp said they will wait for an SC ruling first before filing a motion at the Muntinlupa RTC. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.