MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte's critics condemned his decision for the Philippines to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), as the withdrawal took effect on Sunday, March 17.
The withdrawal comes a year after the Philippines transmitted to the United Nations a notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC. (READ: Duterte throws out decade-long fight for the International Criminal Court)
This notice was filed just a month after the ICC began its "preliminary examination" of the complaint against Duterte in connection with the killings in his anti-drug campaign.
Senator Risa Hontiveros condemned the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC. "Hindi ito pagtataguyod ng ating soberanya. Ito ay pagtatanggol sa isang tiranya," Hontiveros said on Sunday. (This is not to defend our sovereignty. This is to defend tyranny.)
For opposition senatorial candidate Gary Alejano, the move will "embolden" Philippine leaders to commit human rights violations. But Alejano also warned Duterte, "You can withdraw but you cannot hide."
Read portions of the critics' statements below:
Senator Risa Hontiveros
The country's exit from the International Criminal Court is an act to defend not Philippine sovereignty but the climate of killing and impunity in the country. It is President Rodrigo Duterte's desperate exit plan to escape international public accountability for the crimes of which he is accused. Hindi ito pagtataguyod ng ating soberanya. Ito ay pagtatanggol sa isang tiranya. (This is not to defend our sovereignty. This is to defend tyranny.)
Senator Leila de Lima
Instead of facing the music, Duterte is running scared. Behind the delusional bravado of a tyrant is a man who hides behind the legal acrobatics of his men.... He may not (yet) be fleeing physically, but he is surely fleeing by abusing his powers as President and usurping the powers of two other branches of government
Otso Diretso senatorial bet Gary Alejano
The ICC continues to maintain jurisdiction to investigate complaints for extrajudicial killings that were committed before the effectivity of the withdrawal. I daresay the enablers of extrajudicial killings in this country will pay the price in full. They will not be spared from the clutches of justice once the war on drugs, which has claimed thousands of Filipino lives, is proven to be a crime against humanity. You can withdraw but you cannot hide.
Otso Diretso senatorial bet Chel Diokno
Makakasira sa kredibilidad ng Pilipinas sa mata ng ibang bansa ang pagkalas sa ICC. Ito ay maaaring magdulot ng kawalan ng tiwala sa bansa natin, na siya namang makakaapekto sa larangan ng kalakalan at tulong pinansyal na galing sa ibang bansa.
(It will damage the credibility of the Philippines in the eyes of other countries to withdraw from the ICC. This can result in loss of trust in our country, which can then affect trade and financial assistance from other countries.)
Ang nakakalungkot at nakakagalit ay hindi naman ito kailangan, lalo na kung wala namang tinatago at ginagawang mali ang ating pamahalaan. (What's saddening and enraging is that this move is unnecessary, especially if our government is not hiding or doing anything wrong.)
Ang ICC ay nariyan para bigyang pansin at lunas ang mamamayan natin sa panahon ng matinding panganib. Ang layunin nito ay protektahan ang taumbayan at ang kanilang mga karapatan. Walang matinong pamahalaan ang aayaw diyan.
(The ICC is there to give attention and remedy to our citizens in times of great danger. Its objective is to protect our people and their rights. No government in its right mind will reject that.)
Otso Diretso senatorial bet Samira Gutoc:
Mr President, I make an appeal on behalf of the thousands of victims of this drug war to allow the investigation to take its course. Madami pang kaso dito ang wala pang hustisya, ni hindi man lang mapanagot ang mga may sala sa kanilang pagkamatay. (There are still many cases that have not attained justice, where perpetrators of crimes have not been held accountable.)
Wala na po silang laban, wala na rin pong maayos na imbestigasyon sa kanilang pagkamatay. Ganito na ba ang kapalaran ng mga kababayan nating mahihirap? Ang mapatay nang walang laban, nang walang due process, at nang walang dignidad? Marami po sa kanila ang namatay ng nakatsinelas, shorts, at sando. Madami po sa kanila ay hindi na nakapagpaalam sa kanilang mga pamilya.
(They're already helpless, there is also no proper investigation into their deaths. Will this always be the plight of our poor countrymen? To be killed helplessly, without due process, without dignity? Many of them died wearing slippers, shorts, and sleeveless shirts. Many of them weren't able to say goodbye to their families.)
I firmly believe that as an international body, the ICC will be impartial in its investigation. I believe they are capable of rendering a judgment that is objective and competent.
If we will continue this course of action, hindi lang po ang admininistrasyon 'nyo ang magdurusa for this non-cooperation. Maging ang mga susunod na henerasyon ay maaapektuhan nito. (If we will continue this course of action, it's not only your administration that will suffer for this non-cooperation. Even the next generation will be affected.)