International Criminal Court

US ‘appreciates openness’ of Marcos to ICC drug war probe

Lian Buan

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

US ‘appreciates openness’ of Marcos to ICC drug war probe

PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT. File photo of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the Center of Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C., USA on May 4, 2023.

Presidential Communications Office

This statement comes after the Philippine justice department says it is preparing a briefer for the President in case the ICC issues an arrest warrant against Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – The United States said it “appreciates the openness” of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to the ongoing investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the Philippine situation, or the killings that happened under the war on drugs of former president Rodrigo Duterte.

“The United States is aware of the ICC’s decision to continue their inquiry in the Philippines. The United States appreciates the openness of President Marcos and the Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) to address human rights concerns,” a spokesperson for the US State Department told Rappler on Tuesday, May 14.

This statement came after the Philippine DOJ said it was preparing a briefer for the President in case a warrant of arrest comes out from the ICC chambers for the subjects of the investigation, who at this point are assumed to primarily be Duterte and his police chief and drug war architect, Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.

The US is the Philippines’ closest and strongest ally, having just concluded a first-of-its-kind military exercises, the largest in the history of the alliance, and held in the president’s home province as tensions rise with China in the West Philippine Sea.

While the US is not a member of the ICC, it makes some positions on court matters depending on the administration. The Donald Trump government was hostile, but the Joe Biden government was cooperative to the extent that it was willing to share Russian war crime evidence to the ICC to aid its Ukraine investigation.

“We support justice for victims of atrocities across the globe, and accountability for atrocities and human rights abuses,” the State Department spokesperson told Rappler.

The Philippine case has reached the stage where the prosecutor can request warrants or summons. ICC personnel visited the Philippines some months ago, Rappler has confirmed, to continue gathering evidence. This development made Duterte fume and threatened on a radio broadcast to “shoot” anyone who would try to enforce an ICC warrant against him.

Other Duterte officials named in the reports issued by the ICC chamber and prosecutor thus far are retired general and former police chief Oscar Albayalde, and former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.

Enforcement of an ICC warrant would depend on national authorities, and would largely count on the direction of Marcos, made complicated by the fact that the Philippines is not an ICC member anymore since Duterte withdrew from the Rome Statute. Marcos has mainly stayed neutral in tone, expressing openness in some statements, and being strictly closed off in many others, citing non-membership.

“The President’s stance on the ICC remains clear and consistent. However, it is the duty of the Department of Justice to explore all legal avenues and ensure that the President is fully informed of his options. This is standard procedure, not a change in position, ensuring that our administration remains prepared for any scenario,” Malacañang said when DOJ announced it was putting together a briefer. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Face, Happy, Head


Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.