Palace belittles senators’ plea vs ICC withdrawal

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2018 05:51 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Wednesday belittled the petition of minority senators asking the Supreme Court to declare the Philippines' withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) "invalid or ineffective." 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he believes the high court will respect the government’s decision to withdraw the Philippines from the ICC since the President is the “chief architect” of the country’s foreign policy.

“This is not a matter that can be cured by certiorari [petition],” Roque told reporters in a chance interview.

“Kasi kapag certiorari kinakailangan may (Because in petitions for certiorari, there should be) grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. You cannot allege that on matters of foreign affairs. The courts will always defer to the executive on matters of foreign affairs.”

Senators Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV said the withdrawal should be invalidated for lack of concurrence of Senate.

"The Executive cannot abrogate or repeal a law. In the same vein, the Executive cannot unilaterally withdraw from a treaty or international agreement because such withdrawal is tantamount to a repeal of a law," the senators had said.

They urged the high court to compel Malacañang to notify the United Nations that Manila is "canceling, revoking or withdrawing" the Instrument of Withdrawal from the Rome Statute.

In March, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the Philippines' move to withdraw from the ICC, just as the international body started its preliminary examination of the charges against the Filipino leader in connection to his controversial war on drugs.

Roque, an international law expert and a seasoned litigant, said based on his experience, the court always sides with the executive branch in matters of foreign affairs.

He also stressed that no Senate concurrence is needed when the country withdraws from a treaty which, in the case of ICC, is the Rome Statute.