Marcos Jr. administration

Enrile wants ‘interfering’ ICC arrested should they enter PH

Bea Cupin

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Enrile wants ‘interfering’ ICC arrested should they enter PH

Enrile formally takes his oath as chief presidential legal counsel.

Bongbong Marcos' Facebook page

The national police insists the country has a ‘robust’ criminal justice system, even though only a handful of police have been convicted for killings in the name of Duterte’s drug war

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s chief legal counsel said on Monday, January 30, that if it were up to him, personnel from the International Criminal Court (ICC) who try to enter the Philippines would be arrested as he insisted the international tribunal has “no sovereign power over us.”

“They interfere so much with our internal affairs,” Juan Ponce Enrile told media on the sidelines of the presentation of the Marcos administration’s economic roadmap.

On January 27, the ICC authorized the resumption of its probe into the killings under former president Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war.

“We will not allow any of our officials to be investigated or tried by the International Criminal Court. I’m telling you as lawyer of the president, I will not allow, as far as I’m concerned, I will not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court,” added the nonagenarian, who is also among the appointed lawyers closest to Marcos in Malacañang.

It’s the same argument the justice department has made in insisting that there is no need for the ICC to investigate the alleged crimes committed in the name of Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs. Justice department spokesperson Mico Clavano, in a separate media conference, said the Philippines has a “working justice system” that continues to investigate the war on drugs.

Kaya naman natin iprotekta yung sovereignty natin but at the same time investigate talaga at kung maaari i-convict yung mga nagkasala dito sa war on drugs (We can both protect our sovereignty but at the same time investigate and if possible, convict those who violated laws in the war on drugs),” he added.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), the agency that primarily implemented the drug war, has also stuck to the same argument.

“The Philippines has a robust, efficient, and functioning criminal justice system with active legal proceedings and remedies available to address any claim of human rights abuses in the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign. This is evidenced by ongoing investigations on all drug-related deaths and cases of successful prosecution of some government personnel involved in related crimes,” said PNP chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. in a separate news briefing on January 30.

The arguments of officials under the Marcos administration – from the justice department to the police – have been the same as those made under the previous Duterte administration. Marcos is an ally of the former president, and although the President did not get his predecessor’s explicit endorsements, he ran for president alongside Duterte’s daughter Sara.

The ICC found in its “careful analysis of the materials provided by the Philippines” that it was “not satisfied” by investigations ongoing in the country. It believes the Philippines is not capable of investigating and bringing to justice officials responsible for drug-war deaths under Duterte – from his time as Davao City mayor to his presidency from 2016 to 2022.

Thus far, only a handful of cops have been convicted of crimes linked to the drug war.

Marcos himself has yet to speak on the ICC’s latest decision, instead opting to communicate via the justice department.

Enrile was part of an initial meeting with then executive secretary Vic Rodriguez, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo, and former president Rodrigo Duterte’s palace spokesperson Harry Roque in July 2022.

Roque, who waged an unsuccessful bid for the Senate under the Marcos-Duterte slate, was “private counsel to [Marcos]” in the meeting. –

TIMELINE: The International Criminal Court and Duterte’s bloody war on drugs

TIMELINE: The International Criminal Court and Duterte’s bloody war on drugs

1 comment

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  1. ET

    These officials do not want the ICC to “disturb” the Philippine Justice System in which they Rule Above the Law. Sovereignty and other arguments are used as cover-up when in truth they just wanted to maintain their position of being Above the Law in the Philippine Justice System.

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.