MANILA – Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday denounced the latest ruling by the International Criminal Court (ICC) rejecting the Philippine government’s request to suspend the investigation on the so-called drug war of the Duterte administration.
He called the impending probe an indictment against the country’s entire legal and judicial system, and encroaches on the Philippine sovereignty as an independent and law-abiding nation.
“The Philippines is not legally and morally bound to cooperate with the ICC,” Guevarra told reporters following the March 27 decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) due to “the absence of persuasive reasons in support of ordering suspensive effect.”
Guevarra pointed out that while it remains unclear when the Philippine government’s appeal will be resolved, the ICC ruled to proceed with the investigation for the meantime.
After the PTC authorized the resumption of the drug war probe in January, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed an appeal brief on March 13 that sought the reversal of the ICC decision.
“[The decision on the appeal may come] may be in a few months, maybe it will take years, yet the ICC appeals chamber has denied our reasonable request to suspend the investigation until the issues of jurisdiction and admissibility of the Philippine situation have been resolved to our satisfaction,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra said the ruling will have “serious and far-reaching consequences” on the Philippines.
“It places us in the same class of rogue nations where the rule of law is not respected. It tends to humiliate us in the eyes of the international community, and this affront is irreversible and incorrectible even if we eventually win on the merits of our appeal,” Guevarra added.
The ICC PTC ruled that the Philippine government has failed “to explain how the alleged absence of jurisdictional or legal basis for the resumption of the Prosecutor’s activities pending the resolution of the appeal would ‘defeat its very purpose and create an irreversible situation that could not be corrected.’”
It pointed out that the Philippines can still continue with its own investigation while the ICC PTC conducts its own probe. (PNA)