Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles (File photo)

MANILA – The Duterte administration will still not waive its position that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over the Philippines to authorize an investigation into the killings linked to the illegal drug campaign, Malacañang said Thursday.

Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles, however, said this did not mean that the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will stop communicating with The Hague-based tribunal.

“While we do not waive our position that the ICC lacks jurisdiction to probe our campaign against illegal drugs, this does not preclude the Duterte administration from communicating with the ICC,” he said in a press statement.

Nograles made this statement after daily broadsheet the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) published a banner story reporting that Palace “would reject a request by International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan for information on government investigations of alleged atrocities in the drug war.”

The article further reads “…such a request from the ICC prosecutor would be contrary to the government’s position that the tribunal no longer had jurisdiction over the Philippines.”

Nograles clarified that his earlier statement made no mention that the Palace would not comply with the request from the ICC prosecutor.

Nograles’ earlier statement dated Nov. 24 read: "While we have received reports that International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan will request the Philippines to provide substantiating information regarding its investigations into allegations involving the country’s anti-illegal drug campaign, we would like to clarify that we have yet to receive a formal request with regard to this matter.”

“There is nothing in the paragraph above, nor in the rest of our released statement, that would justify the headline and storyline used in the said article,” he added.

Earlier, Nograles said the ICC request seeking proof from the Duterte administration regarding its probe into drug war deaths "validates" the ICC mandate as a "court of last resort".

Khan, in a statement, said his office will ask the Philippine government to provide “substantiating information” on proceedings it cited when the latter sought deferral of the investigation into alleged crimes against humanity related to the administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

Nograles said the Palace has yet to receive a formal request from the ICC and reiterated the Palace position that the ICC has no jurisdiction to probe the administration’s drug war because the country’s judicial processes are working.

“Clearly, the ICC prosecutor’s request for information is an acknowledgment that alleged victims can seek redress in Philippine legal institutions because these are independent, impartial, and competent,” he said.

In a latter to Khan dated November 10, the Philippines asked the ICC to defer its probe linked to the drug war arguing that it is already investigating the crimes.

“In accordance with the principle of complementarity under which the Court operates, the Philippine government has the first responsibility and right to prosecute international crimes,” the six-page letter penned by Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands Eduardo Malaya read.

Duterte ordered in March 2018 the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statue that created the ICC after Bensouda pushed through with the preliminary examination into his anti-illegal drugs campaign in February 2018.

The Philippines officially severed ties with the ICC on March 17, 2019, or exactly a year after Duterte revoked the Rome Statute. (PNA)