The Supreme Court voted 15-0 to dismiss the petitions challenging President Rodrigo Duterte's unilateral withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
It's one of those types of decisions – the ruling is to dismiss the petitions, but the reasoning contains a lot for "positive" takeaways. Lawyers call the reasoning just obiter dictum, or an opinion that doesn't have legal weight.
What makes reasoning an obiter is debatable, said Professor Andre Palacios, who teaches Public International Law at the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law and chairs the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) international law committee.
For him, the decision's citation of the domestic International Humanitarian Law (IHL) affects the ongoing ICC case "positively" because the IHL requires the Philippines to surrender suspects to international tribunals.
The decision also laid out three rules for presidents to withdraw from a treaty.
The language of the decision says there's still "much leeway" for the president, but Palacios said it's not too much discretion because it actually limited presidential power.
"Previously, the idea is that the president is the sole architect of foreign policy with unlimited powers, so now it's clarified that the power is shared and the power is limited, and very detailed limitations," said Palacios.
Listen to this episode as we dissect the decision for its legal and practical impacts.
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