MANILA – The Philippines has no intention of rejoining the International Criminal Court (ICC), President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Monday.
In an interview with reporters in Pasig City, Marcos maintained that the government is already investigating all deaths linked to the Duterte administration’s crackdown on illegal drugs.
He said this was discussed during his meeting with Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, Presidential Legal Adviser Juan Ponce Enrile, Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and lawyer Harry Roque on July 27.
“Ang mineeting natin ay dahil sinasabi ngayon ay itutuloy yung imbestigasyon. E sinasabi naman naming may imbestigasyon naman dito. Patuloy rin naman ang imbestigasyon, bakit magkakaroon ng ganun (What we discussed during the meeting is what the ICC is saying that they will proceed with investigation. But what we are saying is it is already being investigated here. Investigation is ongoing, so why would there be a need for it)?” he said.
Marcos, however, said the government is discussing the necessary steps that need to be taken.
“Para alam natin ang gagawin natin (So we can be sure about our next action), if we will respond, if we will not respond. Kung sakali man sasagot tayo ano magiging sagot natin o possible din basta hindi natin papansinin dahil hindi naman tayo sumasailalim sa kanila (If we do respond, what will be the response or possibly we just ignore them because we are no longer part of the ICC),” he added.
He emphasized the need to thoroughly assess how the government would act on the ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s formal request to resume investigations into the human rights situation in the Philippines.
In a 53-page document posted on ICC’s website on June 24 (Manila time), Prosecutor Karim Khan asked the Pre-Trial Chamber to resume the investigation into the drug war noting that investigation carried out by the Philippines “does not sufficiently mirror the investigation to be conducted by the Prosecution.”
This formal request came seven months after it was suspended upon the request of the government.
Khan’s request comes a year after his predecessor, former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, sought judicial authority for a full investigation of the rights situation in the country.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte in March 2018 ordered the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute just weeks after Bensouda announced a preliminary examination was underway into the administration’s drug war.
The Philippines officially cut ties with the ICC on March 17, 2019, or exactly a year after the Rome Statute’s revocation.
Duterte has insisted that the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, specified that the ICC can only prosecute such complaints if the member-nation did not have a working judicial system or the government refused to prosecute such crimes.
Previously, Marcos said he would continue the Duterte administration’s drug war with the same vigor, but will focus on the “prevention side” instead of the “enforcement side” carried out by the previous administration.
In January, he said he will allow members of the ICC to go to the country, but only as tourists and not as investigators. (PNA)