Marcos: Philippines 'has no intention of rejoining' ICC

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2022 02:48 PM | Updated as of Aug 01 2022 05:42 PM

Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte says goodbye to successor President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr after the departure honors at the Malacanang Palace on June 30, 2022. King Rodriguez, Presidential Photo
Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte says goodbye to successor President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr after the departure honors at the Malacanang Palace on June 30, 2022. King Rodriguez, Presidential Photo

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippines has "no intention of rejoining" the International Criminal Court, which could reopen its investigation into the Duterte administration's deadly war on drugs, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Monday.

Marcos said he recently met with legal officials to discuss the bid of the ICC prosecutor to resume the drug war inquiry after finding that the Philippines has supposedly not investigated alleged crimes within the court's jurisdiction. 

"The Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC," Marcos told reporters. 

"Ang mineeting namin ay dahil sinasabi ngayon na itutuloy ang imbestigasyon. Ang sinasabi naman namin, may imbestigasyon naman dito at patuloy rin naman ang imbestigasyon, bakit magkakaroon ng ganoon?" 

(We met about reports that the investigation will be resumed. What we are saying is there is an investigation here, it continues, so why there should be another probe?) 

Marcos said the ICC "is a very different kind of a court" and he told officials to study the procedure thoroughly. 

"Baka ma-misinterpret iyong ating mga ginagawa, kaya liwanagin natin kung ano ba talaga ang dapat gawin, sino ang susulat kanino, ano ang ilalagay sa sulat, et cetera, et cetera," he said. 

(Our actions could be misinterpreted, so let us clarify what should be done, who should write to who, what should be written.) 

House Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro said Marcos' decision not to rejoin ICC could lead to more rights violations. 

"With this development we must be more vigilant in defending human rights and an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us," Castro said.

In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) said the move "will not deter the push for justice for the victims of serious human rights violations especially as they don’t control the judges of the ICC."

"Relatives’ support groups continue to engage the Court towards pursuing the investigation of willful killings under the war on drugs. We will continue to fight for justice and accountability," it said.

In March 2018, then President Rodrigo Duterte canceled the Philippines' membership in the ICC's founding treaty after it launched a preliminary probe into his drug crackdown. But under the ICC's statute, it has jurisdiction for crimes committed between 2016 and 2019. 

Duterte told officers to fatally shoot narcotics suspects if their lives were at risk. He defended the crackdown, saying it had saved families and prevented the Philippines from turning into a "narco-politics state". 

Government data show more than 6,200 people have died in police anti-drug operations since Duterte was swept to power in 2016.

Rights groups say Duterte created a climate of impunity and estimate that tens of thousands have been killed by police, hitmen and vigilantes, even without proof they were involved in drugs.

Only 3 policemen have been convicted for slaying a drug suspect. 

Under pressure from the UN Human Rights Council and the ICC, the government has examined around 300 cases of drug operations that led to deaths. 

Then Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told AFP in October that a review of 52 cases had cast doubt on the officers' common claim of self-defense. Charges have been filed in 5 cases.

 — With a report from Agence France-Presse 

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