Palace to ICC: Let PH gov't address alleged flaws in drug war

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

June 25, 2022, 6:10 pm

MANILA – Malacañang on Saturday asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to allow the Philippine government's efforts to address alleged flaws in the drug war to "run its course".

"Amid our hugely successful anti-illegal drug campaign that saw a massive dip in crime incidences attributed to drug abuse, the Duterte administration has undertaken, through the Department of Justice, in partnership with the Philippine National Police, among others, investigations of all deaths that have arisen from lawful drug enforcement operations," Acting Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.

The statement is in response to the request of ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan to reopen the investigation into the country's campaign against illegal drugs.

"This shows transparency and the efforts to address alleged flaws in the campaign are in fact supported by the United Nations in its three-year technical cooperation program with the Philippines," Andanar added.

Andanar was referring to the UN Joint Program on Human Rights that took effect in July last year.

"Let these efforts of the Philippine government run their course; after all, reciprocity is a key principle in the methods of work of the ICC," he said.

Andanar added that veering away from this principle "will only reveal the politicization that has infiltrated the ICC’s ranks."

He likewise argued that while the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) recommended that relevant international organizations continue to monitor the human rights situation in the country, "in no part of its report did it even imply the need for direct external investigation".

"Surely, the CHR knows the implications of such intervention on State sovereignty, and we expect the ICC, especially Mr. Khan, to know that as well," he said.

The ICC in September 2021 began its probe of the Philippines' situation covering dates from November 2011 to March 16, 2019, in the context of the latter's anti-illegal narcotics campaign.

On November 10, 2021, the ICC Prosecution temporarily suspended said activities while it was assessing "the scope and effect" of Manila's deferral request, which was based on the fact that local authorities were investigating alleged deaths and abuses during the campaign.

On Friday, Khan said Manila's deferral request is "not warranted" and requested the ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber to allow the probe to resume.

"The majority of the information provided by the Philippine Government relates to administrative and other non-penal processes and proceedings which do not seek to establish criminal responsibility, and therefore cannot warrant deferral of the ICC’s criminal investigation," he said.

He said the Philippines has not fully substantiated that investigations are ongoing or complete. (PNA)