PBBM: ICC issue is about jurisdiction, not evidence on drug war

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

February 20, 2024, 6:55 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The issue concerning the International Criminal Court (ICC) revolves around its lack of jurisdiction over the Philippines, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Tuesday.

The President stressed that the focus should not be on the evidence it has on the Duterte administration’s drug war.

Speaking to reporters after an event at the Metropolitan Theater in Manila, Marcos maintained that the ICC has no right to interfere in Philippine affairs.

“No. It’s not about the evidence. It’s about the jurisdiction of the ICC in the Philippines,” Marcos said, when asked if there is a possibility that he might cooperate with the international tribunal, if indeed there are enough evidence to file a case of crimes against humanity against former president Rodrigo Duterte and other officials linked to the war on drugs.

“It opens a Pandora’s box. It’s still those questions of jurisdiction and sovereignty. I haven’t yet seen a sufficient answer for it. Until then, I do not recognize their jurisdiction in the Philippines. I cannot. That seems to be the only logical conclusion that could come from that situation,” he said.

Marcos said ICC prosecutors could “produce as much evidence as they want but they could not act upon it in the Philippines.”

He said he would not stop the ICC from entering the Philippines to gather evidence, since it is an “open country.”

“I don’t approve or deny it but you know, they haven’t done anything illegal. Once they do, of course, we will do something about it. But we are an open country, we are not a closed country,” Marcos said.

The OCTA Research on Sunday released survey results that showed 55 percent of adult Filipinos are in favor of the Philippine government cooperating with the ICC probe into alleged violations during the Duterte administration’s anti-narcotics campaign.

In January, Marcos said the ICC may visit the Philippines but his administration will not cooperate in the international court’s investigation.

The Philippine National Police on Feb. 7 said it would not enforce any arrest warrant that may be issued by the ICC against Duterte.

Improved intel services

Meantime, Marcos said the country’s intelligence gathering has improved under his leadership.

He said intelligence units in the country have been doing a “good job” in monitoring “more serious” external threats

“Well, pinagtibay talaga natin ang ating (we really strengthened our) intelligence services and response, better than it was before because marami nang ibang bagong kailangan bantayan (we have new things to monitor),” Marcos said.

“We should not be talking about intelligence services because it's supposed to be clandestine. But maayos naman ang trabaho nila (But their work is good). I think more than anything, they are really directed towards external threats because those are more serious as far as we are concerned,” he added. (PNA)