(File photo)

MANILA – The numerous cases of killings linked to the previous administration’s drug war are already being speedily investigated by the government, Malacañang said Tuesday.

The Palace made the statement after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday ruled out the Philippines rejoining the International Criminal Court (ICC) after discussing with his legal team last week the resumption of the ICC investigation.

Marcos maintained that the country’s criminal justice system is functioning, so there would not be any need for the ICC to resume its investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed in the previous administration’s anti-narcotics campaign.

In a Palace press briefing, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles further explained that the President’s decision not to rejoin ICC is “an issue of sovereignty.”

“Sa kasalukuyan, iniimbestigahan naman po ang mga reklamo ukol dun sa mga namamatay during the drug war, kung kaya’t hindi na nangangailangan pang tumugon sa ICC o bumalik ang ating bansa sa Rome Statute (Complaints about those who died during the drug war are being investigated, so there is no need to respond to the ICC or for our country to return to the Rome Statute),” she said.

Cruz-Angeles acknowledged the grievances aired by the families of drug war victims but assured them that legal institutions are fully capable of helping them achieve justice.

She said there is no need to call on the President to order an immediate probe into drug war cases because this is already being done.

“Bahagi po ng ating proseso ang mabilis na paglilitis lalong-lalo na doon sa mga kriminal na kaso so hindi na kailangan magbigay ng direktiba ang Pangulo. Bahagi na po yun ng sistema ng hustiya (Speedy trials are part of our process, especially in criminal cases, so the President does not need to issue a directive. That is part of the justice system),” she added.

The Philippines formally withdrew from the ICC in 2019, with then president Rodrigo Duterte saying the international court cannot acquire jurisdiction over him.

In November 2021, the ICC suspended its probe into alleged human rights abuses linked to the war on drugs at the Philippine government's request.

In June, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan requested judges of the pre-trial chamber to proceed with the probe, saying the Philippine government has failed to demonstrate that it has investigated the drug killings. (PNA)