Guevarra to Marcos: PH appeal vs ICC drug war probe resumption still pending

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 29 2023 01:17 PM

A picture taken on November 23, 2015 shows the new building of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, The Netherlands. AFP Photo/ANP/Martijn Beekman
A picture taken on November 23, 2015 shows the new building of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, The Netherlands. AFP Photo/ANP/Martijn Beekman

MANILA — Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra is sending a memo to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to clarify that the Philippine government's appeal to the International Criminal Court's ruling authorizing the reopening of an inquiry into the war on drugs is still pending.

Marcos has announced the Philippines would "disengage" from the ICC after the Hague-based court rejected the government's request to suspend its investigation into former President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war.

"Today, I'm sending a memo for the President to explain to him the status of our appeal with the ICC Appeals Chamber," he told ANC's "Headstart" Wednesday.

"I’ll have to clarify with him that the appeal itself is still pending. It has not been denied. It has not been dismissed. We are simply awaiting the resolution of that appeal, which we don’t know kung kailan talaga darating," he added.

In early March, the Philippines appealed an ICC ruling that allowed the resumption of the probe on the bloody drug war.

He explained that they also requested the ICC Appeals Chamber to give "suspensive effect to the pendancy of the appeal," which means it was asking the court not to proceed with its inquiry while the appeal is still pending. 

The suspension request was dismissed by the ICC Appeals Chamber in a decision issued March 27.

Since the resolution of the ICC Appeals Chamber was not notified to the Philippines in advance, Guevarra said Marcos may have presumed the appeal was dismissed.

The decision was posted on ICC's website.

"The media picked it up, and it came to the knowledge of the President, and somehow along the transmission of the information, the President might have gotten the impression it was the appeal itself that was dismissed," he said.


Guevarra said he would also seek clarification on the President's remark.

"Does that mean that we will stop communicating or submitting any further pleadings in connection with our appeal?" he said.

"Does that mean if the ICC chamber calls for an oral argument on the appeal we will not participate anymore? Or does that simply mean no further action? Let's just await the ruling on the appeal itself?" he added.

In an earlier statement, Guevarra said he was saddened by the ICC ruling, saying it would have serious and far-reaching consequences for the Philippines.

He added the ruling was an indictment of the country's justice and legal system.

"That effect puts us in the same class as some rogue nation where the rule of law was not really observed or upheld. Kaya parang it puts us in a very humiliating situation, so to speak," Guevarra told "Headstart".


In the interview, Guevarra said he suspected that the ICC would still proceed with its inquiry despite efforts made by the Philippine government to comply with its request.

"Right from the beginning, we got this feeling na parang regardless of what we do, they will really proceed to do an investigation and indict some individuals," he said.

Guevarra claimed the ICC disregarded all the information and data that the Philippine government had provided.

"The last straw was the denial of our request for suspensive effect. So, parang we see a pattern. Parang right from the beginning up to the very end, parang there is an intention on the part of the ICC na tuluyan talaga ang Pilipinas," he said.

The ICC authorized the reopening of an inquiry into Duterte's drug war in January.

Some 6,000 people died in his anti-drug campaign, according to official figures. But rights groups estimate the true figure was in the tens of thousands.

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