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Palace on ICC withdrawal: PH can manage with its own laws

/ 10:13 PM March 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang took a swipe at those criticizing the withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying that the jurisdictional crimes of that court were already covered under the Philippines’ own laws.

“Detractors of the President are quick to harp on the alleged injustices in the Philippines. They appear not to know or simply ignore the fact that the jurisdictional crimes of the ICC are already covered by our domestic laws,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement issued on Sunday.

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“Any individual who seeks redress for grievances on any kind of injustice is free to file a complaint with our courts using Philippine laws,” he added.

He also reiterated that the Philippines had never been a state party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC.

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“The President’s staunchest critics and vocal detractors are at it again lambasting the supposed withdrawal of the Philippines from the Rome Statute and necessarily from the jurisdiction of the [ICC],” Panelo said.

“The Philippines cannot leave that which has never joined in the first place,” he added. “The Philippines never became a State Party to the Rome Statute which created the ICC. As far as we are concerned, this tribunal is non-existent and its actions a futile exercise.”

The ICC launched a “preliminary examination” in February 2018 on the accusation that President Rodrigo Duterte had committed crimes against humanity, following a review of communications and reports documenting the alleged crimes linked to his brutal crackdown on illegal drugs.

A month after, the President declared the country’s withdrawal from the ICC.

In its letter to the ICC, the Philippines said its decision to withdraw was a “principled stand against those who politicize and weaponize human rights.”

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“There is therefore absolutely no basis for the ICC to continue whatever it started against the President or the Philippines,” Panelo said. “Nor is there any basis for the opposition and the critics’ perorations on the subject.”

“Should the ICC proceed with its undertakings relative to the Philippines and violate the provisions of the instrument which created it in the process, it can only mean that it is bent on interfering with the sovereignty of our Republic,’ he added.

Panelo also boasted of the country’s “robust judicial system” saying that it “soundly operates.”

He cited as an “eloquent proof of this” the conviction of the three policemen over the killing of 17-year-old Kian de los Santos last November 2018.

READ: 3 policemen guilty of killing Kian delos Santos — court 

The Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC takes effect on Sunday following the failure of the Supreme Court to issue a ruling on the consolidated petitions filed by six opposition senators and Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court, led by former Commission on Human Right (CHR) chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales. /atm

READ: Philippines nearing official withdrawal from Int’l Criminal Court

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TAGS: ICC withdrawal, International Criminal Court, Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo, war on drugs
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