Group urges SC to void Philippines' withdrawal from ICC

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 13 2018 04:27 PM | Updated as of Jun 13 2018 05:59 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - A non-government organization urged the Supreme Court on Wednesday to void the Philippine government's notice of withdrawal from a United Nations treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In its 51-page petition, the group Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC) said the executive department needs Senate concurrence first before issuing a notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute. 

"Petitioners had been shut off a process that should take place in public deliberations that the Senate is supposed to undertake precisely on the question of abnegating our international
obligations under the Rome Statute," the petition read. 

The PCICC said it is a group composed of individuals and corporate entities that campaigned for the Philippines to become a state party to the Rome Statute, an international treaty that established the ICC. 

In its plea, the coalition said President Rodrigo Duterte “gravely abused his discretion" in unilaterally withdrawing from the treaty signed in December 2000 and ratified in August 2011, violating the Constitution in the process. 

Malacañang, meanwhile, maintained that there is no provision in the Constitution that requires Senate concurrence with the move of the executive branch.

"We reiterate that the President is the chief architect of the country’s foreign policy," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

"Again, this is not an issue that can be addressed by a certiorari. Hence, the courts must defer matters on foreign affairs to the Executive," he added.

Duterte ordered the Philippines' withdrawal from the Rome Statute after the ICC announced in February that it would begin its preliminary examination into charges of mass murder against him in connection with his controversial war on drugs. 

The first petition to void the notice of withdrawal from the ICC was filed by opposition senators Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino, Leila De Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV.