SC ruling upheld ICC jurisdiction over Duterte 'crimes' even before his presidency -Lagman

Published July 22, 2021, 6:19 PM

by Ben Rosario

Senior members of the House of Representatives lauded as victory for justice and rule of law the Supreme Court (SC) ruling that upheld the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the cases of crimes against humanity allegedly committed under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Drug war rally

In separate statements, Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman congratulated the SC for the 15-0 ruling on the issue that was reached in March, 2019 but whose ruling was released only on July 21.

Both Zarate and Lagman declared that the decision proves judicial independence.

“We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court na nilinaw ang limitasyon ng kapangyarihan ng Presidente patungkol sa withdrawal sa ICC, (that clarified the limitations of the president’s power in connection with the withdrawal from the iCC),” said Zarate during the Makabayan virtual news conference on Thursday, July 22.

Zarate pointed out that while the SC dismissed the petition as moot and academic because the ICC had recognized the Philippines withdrawal of membership, the court nonetheless acknowledged that the ICC had jurisdiction on matters it investigated prior to the date government cancelled its relationship with the international court of justice.

Lagman said the court threw out Duterte’s “repeated posturing of withdrawal” from the Rome Statute on March 16, 2018 at his sole behest.”

“The Supreme Court cited that Article 127 of the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, provides that the withdrawal of a state party takes effect one year after receipt by the Secretary General of the United Nations of the notification of withdrawal,” said Lagman.

“Consequently, the country’s withdrawal took effect only on March 17, 2019, and all covered offenses committed by Duterte from the time the Philippines became a state party in November 2011 up to March 16, 2019 fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC and the country is obligated to cooperate with the investigation of the ICC prosecutor,” he explained.

The veteran solon stated: “This decision will further fuel Duterte’s obsession to run for vice president on the errant notion invoking feigned immunity. “ During the Makabayan press conference, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago said the High Court ruling is a most welcome development in the search for justice for the thousands who died as a result of Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.

“This is good news to all who continue raising their voices to stop the killings and hold those who are responsible in the Duterte administration’s bloody drug war to account,” said Elago.