Catholic prelates denounce PH withdrawal from ICC

Published March 15, 2018, 2:02 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Leslie Ann Aquino

The Philippines is not Duterte.

This was the reaction of a Catholic prelate on the declaration of President Duterte of the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo (CBCP NEWS / ROY LAGARDE)
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo
(CBCP NEWS / ROY LAGARDE)

In an interview, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the Chief Executive cannot just set aside the country’s commitment to human rights in the international community.

“Our commitment to human rights in the international community and the international court cannot just be set aside by him,” he said.

The prelate, who is the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on the Laity, said such a decision only showed that there is “basis” for the allegations against him; hence, he should be investigated.

“This shows that there is basis for the investigation on him. Always the reason given leaders when they are investigated is that there is no jurisdiction and only political movements. They are afraid of accountabilities,” said Pabillo.

“Duterte should be investigated,” he added.

For his part, Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes believes the President is simply “afraid” of a possible conviction.

“The act of President Duterte is a sign that he is AFRAID of a possible conviction of his crimes against humanity to be declared by the ICC, which will shame him throughout the world for all times,” he said.

“His withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the ICC is an act of cowardice, which makes his name more infamous,” added Bastes.

He said the President should not call the ICC investigation of his crimes as political interference in the affairs of the country as it is not a political issue rather a moral issue.

“This is not a political issue but a moral issue beyond national boundaries,” Bastes said.

And since it is a moral and not simply a political issue, he said the Church should take action against the cowardly act of withdrawal from the Rome Statute of which our Christian country is a signatory.

On Wednesday, President Duterte declared that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute “effective immediately.”

In a statement, the President said there seems to be a concerted effort on the part of the UN Special Rapporteurs to paint him as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extrajudicial killings.

 
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