By Hannah Torregoza
Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon said President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), has no effect on the complaint that has been filed against him before the ICC.
Unfortunately, however, the Senate cannot do anything to reverse the President’s decision to withdraw from the ICC.
“So that is the legal issue now: the effect of the withdrawal. The Rome Statutes so provide—this question will ultimately be decided by the court itself. Unfortunately the Senate has no say on the withdrawal,” Drilon told reporters in an interview when sought for comment.
“The crucial issue here is what happens to the preliminary examination and I think that was (what) prompted the withdrawal, if I can read Malacanang,” he pointed out.
Drilon cited that under Article 127 of the Rome Statute, the withdrawal has no effect on the cases which were filed before the withdrawal.
“Under Art 127 (2), the withdrawal shall not affect any cooperation with the Court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings in relation to which the withdrawing State had a duty to cooperate and which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective, nor shall it prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter which was already under consideration by the Court prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective,” he said citing a provision of the Rome Statute.
Drilon said he had tried to introduce a resolution before—Senate Resolution No. 289, in February of last year, that expresses the sense of the Senate that the termination of or withdrawal from treaties and international agreements concurred in by the Senate shall be valid and effective only upon the concurrence by the Senate.
Unfortunately, the measure did not pass after Sen. Emmanuel (Manny) Pacquiao rejected the resolution.
“I filed the resolution and it was signed by the majority of the senators; unfortunately, I think it was Senator (Manny) Pacquiao who objected to it, so it was not passed,” Drilon recalled.
“So what we did was, in the individual treaties that were ratified by the Senate, individually, we introduced this paragraph. Of course the Rome Statute ratification was not affected because it was ratified much earlier,” the Senate minority chief said.
Had the Senate successfully passed the resolution, Drilon said it would have covered all resolutions and treaties that the upper chamber concurred in.
“So that the sense of the Senate that I sought to have on the record is that all of these treaties which we ratified can be rendered ineffective only if we concurred in the withdrawal. Unfortunately that did not pass,” he pointed out.
Drilon, however, said it would be now up to the ICC to resolve whether to continue its investigation into the allegations of state-sanctioned killings on Duterte’s war on drugs.
“That is the rule. The ruling as to the continuation of the investigation, will be ruled upon by the court itself. I’m sure the government will assert that it is no longer bound by the statutes. That is a legal issue which will now be resolved by the court.
“That is what Article 127 of the Rome Statues says,” he reiterated.
But Pacquiao for his part, defended his objection to Drilon’s resolution, saying the President should have the prerogative to withdraw in any agreement.
“Kasi prerogative ng Pangulo yun. Nasa batas natin yun, na prerogative ng isang Executive to withdraw in any agreement. Nasa kanya, din ang kailangan ng ano, ang trabaho lang naman ng Congress is to nullify, to concur,diba?” Pacquiao pointed out.
“Kaya para sa akin,, kung ano ang desisyon ng Pangulo, wala akong problema. Sa akin suportado ko ang Pangulo. Kasi. Like I said, ang Pangulo di siya gagawa ng habkbang na para sa kanya, kasi kung gagawa sya ng habbang na para sa kanya eh talga na niyang mayor sa Davao, sinamantala na niya yumaman at maganda na ang buhay niya,” the boxing icon turned politician said.
Pacquiao said whatever the decision of the President is, it must be respected.
“Kung ano man ang desisyon ng Pangulo respetuhin natin. pero pag-aralan natin kung ano ang maiaambag natin na makatulong tayo, makasuggest tayo pero kung ito ay sa tingin natin ikakaganda ng ating bansa, ikakabuti ng ating bansa, why not,” he said.
He also said he believes the President is not using the country’s withdrawal from the ICC as his way out to evade the case against him.
“Hindi naman tumatakas, wala namang kasalanan ang ating Pangulo. Ginagampanan niya yung trabaho niya,” he said.