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MANILA, Philippines — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla said the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will discuss the fate of the Philippines at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Remulla told reporters on Thursday, November 23, that he was seeking a meeting with Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin to ask for instructions, and ensure that they are on the “same page” on the matter concerning the ICC probe.
“Siyempre, ika-clarify lang kung may balak ba tayong maging miyembro muli ng ICC dahil sa ginagawa ng Kongreso (Of course, we will clarify if we have plans to be a member of the ICC anew amid the Congress’ push). How it affects the whole universe of the ICC and the Philippine government as it is right now,” the DOJ chief said, when asked if the president has given instructions on the matter.
The DOJ chief added that the concern requires intense studying since the Philippines is no longer a member state of the international court. He also noted that they will study the Congress’ arguments and discussions in pushing for the ICC cooperation.
Remulla said the push for the cooperation is a matter of foreign policy, reiterating that the reason why the Philippines left the ICC was because of the question of jurisdiction.
From a tough stance, Remulla said on November 21 that the recommendation to rejoin the ICC needs “serious study.” The clamor came from House resolutions urging the Marcos government to cooperate with the ICC probe.
Meanwhile, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, whose office serves as the Philippine government’s primary counsel, has a clear position on the Congress resolution.
“Such resolution, if adopted, runs counter to the position of the republic, repeatedly declared by no less than the president, the head of state, that the Philippines has no legal duty to cooperate with the ICC on jurisdictional grounds, and that any such unwanted interference in our affairs by the ICC will encroach upon the sovereignty of our country,” Guevarra told reporters.
The ICC probe centers on the drug war killings under former president Rodrigo Duterte’s term. The probe also encompasses the alleged crimes of the so-called Davao Death Squad. Based on the estimate of several human rights groups, around 30,000 people were already killed in the drug war, if the vigilante killings were to included.
Due to the denial of the Philippine government’s appeal in July this year against the investigation, the ICC probe headed by Prosecutor Karim Khan is still ongoing. The Philippines’ relationship with the ICC being raised because in the event that warrants are issued, the ICC will rely on the government’s cooperation. — Rappler.com