Palace: No need for Senate consent on ICC withdrawal

Published March 15, 2018, 4:10 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte does not have to get the consent of the Senate on the country’s withdrawal from the membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque acknowledged that the Senate ratification of a treaty is needed to become a “part of the law of the land” but its concurrence is no longer required in the withdrawal from such agreement.

“There is no obligation to do so,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

“Is there anything that says executive needs to consult with the Senate when we withdraw from a treaty? None!” he added.

Roque noted that Senator Franklin Drilon’s proposed resolution requiring Senate concurrence on withdrawal from a treaty was “not acted upon by his colleagues.”

“The reason why the Senate consent is not necessary is that the Constitution does not provide it’s necessary. That is a decision to be made by the President as chief architect of foreign policy,” he said.

President Duterte recently decided to withdraw the country’s signature from the Rome Statute that created the ICC, weeks after the tribunal opened an inquiry into the government’s anti-drug campaign.

Duterte has protested that the outrageous attacks by some United Nations officials as well as violations of due process by the ICC. He said country’s withdrawal from the ICC would take effect immediately, despite the statute’s provision that such process takes a year after an official notice.

Roque said Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea would implement the President’s order on the ICC pullout through “proper diplomatic procedure” in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Roque, meantime, said he has “no regrets” in strongly pushing for the country’s membership in the ICC in the past because he believed it would help end a culture of impunity then.

“But when I lobbied for Philippine membership into the ICC, it was because I knew it cannot be a substitute for domestic courts. Importante nga lang po na magkaroon tayo ng alternatibo kung hindi na gumagana ang mga lokal na mga hukuman [It was important to have an alternative if the domestic courts do not work],” he said.

Roque, however, said he agreed with the President that the ICC has become a political tool to undermine the government and the country’s sovereignty.