Minority senators want De Lima to argue case at SC vs PH withdrawal from ICC

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 14 2018 09:13 PM

MANILA - Minority senators want detained Sen. Leila de Lima to argue before the Supreme Court for their petition seeking to declare "invalid or ineffective" the Philippines' withdrawal from the treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said they have asked De Lima to act as their counsel in oral arguments next month.

“We have requested Sen. De Lima to be our counsel of record and will argue for us in the oral arguments. We have not [received] a word from her but yes, we have requested her,” he said.

Drilon explained that they chose De Lima as their counsel due to her experience as a justice chief. She is also a known human rights lawyer, having headed the Commission on Human Rights in the past.

Should she accept the offer, De Lima, who has been detained on drug charges since February last year, will be appearing before the Supreme Court, Drilon said.

Last month, Drilon, De Lima, and Senators Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV filed a petition for certiorari at the high court, arguing that Manila's withdrawal from the ICC should be invalidated for lack of concurrence by the Senate via a two-thirds vote.

The high court has scheduled oral arguments on their plea on July 24.

“We have asserted our theory that a treaty is part of the law of the land but the treaty does not become part of the law of the land unless it is ratified by the Senate," Drilon said.

On Wednesday, a non-government organization filed a second petition against the executive branch's decision to withdraw from the ICC. 

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Philippines' withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC, after the international court 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.