Criticisms against PH’s withdrawal from ICC ‘misleading, baseless’ – Panelo

Published March 18, 2019, 12:49 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Genalyn Kabiling

The sky has not fallen and the sun still rises in the east, Malacañang told critics of the country’s pullout from the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo hit back at the President’s detractors for their “conspiracy theories” to gain publicity, saying those alleging the administration sanctioned deaths in the drug war should instead file cases before the proper bodies.

“March 17 has passed, the sky has not fallen and the sun still rises on the east,” Panelo said, adding the criticisms on the country’s withdrawal from the ICC were “misleading and baseless.”

“Our people desire policies with immediate results rather than noise emanating from groups closely identified with the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) and a defeated major political party which presently are fighting for political survival and relevance,” he said.

The country’s pullout from the Rome Statute took effect Sunday although the ICC still reportedly intends to pursue the inquiry into the alleged abuses linked to the government’s war on drugs. The Palace explained that the ICC was “non-existent” and its actions “a futile exercise” since the Philippines never became a member in the first place.

Some rights groups expressed concern that impunity won as a consequence of the country’s withdrawal from the ICC.

Panelo however found “amusing” the criticisms made by the Amnesty International, Commission on Human Rights, and other groups to Manila’s pullout.

“It is open season of conspiracy theories by the political opposition, the Left and the human rights activists. Suddenly becoming experts in international law and sharing the common advocacy of demonizing the President and his Administration on the issue of human rights vis-a-vis the drug war, they make good media copy, which obviously is the intention,” he said.

He urged the people claiming drug-related deaths were sanctioned by the administration “to file sworn complaints before the appropriate administrative and judicial bodies to test the validity of their assertion apart from assisting in the administration of justice.”

Failure to take such process only meant these people were engaged in “conjectures and politicizing the matter to the advantage of drug personalities and criminals,” Panelo said.

He maintained that the government’s campaign against drugs was anchored on national survival as well as accountability of those destroy the nation. He insisted that the extrajudicial killings were not State-sponsored.

“The scores of dead policemen and serious injuries to the hundreds of men in uniform are grim testimonials to the reality that those involved in the drug cartel will not allow themselves to be arrested or captured alive,” he said.

Panelo also said there was no culture of impunity under the administration. He said the country’s justice system remains operational and strictly compliant with the constitutional requirement of due process.

“The President’s immovable goal in pursuing the relentless drive against the destroyers of society is based on his constitutional duty to serve and protect the people. No force on earth can dissuade or stop him from pursuing such objective and complying with the constitutional order,” he said.

He said the government would also continue the fight against the enemies of the state “with merciless constitutional force and unstoppable scorching motion until the republic and the people are secure from their evil and destructive clutches.”