House tackles resolution urging cooperation with ICC

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 21 2023 04:55 PM | Updated as of Nov 21 2023 07:09 PM

ABS-CBN News/File.
The Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on July 25, 2022, prior to the first State of the Nation Address of Bongbong Marcos Jr. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File.

MANILA (UPDATED) -- The House of Representatives has referred to its Committee on Justice House Bill 1477, which urges the government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court.

This comes 15 days after it approved a resolution in defense of the chamber from the attacks of former President Rodrigo Duterte, after the chamber took away the 2024 confidential funds of Vice President Sara Duterte.

The resolution was read on first reading Tuesday and referred to the panel. It is authored by House Human Rights panel Chair Bienvenido "Benny" M. Abante Jr. and 1-Rider Party-list Rep Ramon Rodrigo L. Gutierrez.

This resolution is the second of its kind, following House Resolution 1393 authored by the former President's usual critics in the Makabayan bloc.

Earlier this year, another former President, Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Arroyo, led almost 20 lawmakers in filing a resolution urging the unequivocal defense of Duterte from the ICC.

A press release from Abante's office explained that the resolution stressed that the Philippine Constitution declares that "the State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect of human rights."

It also said that HR No. 1477 states that the Philippine government has clearly demonstrated that it "respects the rule of international law and recognizes the proceedings of the ICC" as evidenced by its initial request to the ICC to defer its investigation, as well as its subsequent petition to the ICC Appeals Chamber.

It also pointed out that despite the country's withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the jurisdiction of the ICC was reinforced by the Supreme Court of the Philippines when it rendered a judgment stating that "the ICC retains jurisdiction over any and all acts committed by government actors until March 17, 2019."

The resolution cited that the ICC has maintained that it retains jurisdiction with respect to any alleged crime that occurred in the Philippines while it was a State Party to the Rome Statute, from November 1, 2011 up to March 16, 2019.

With all these in mind, the resolution urges the appropriate government departments "to extend their full cooperation to the ICC Prosecutor with respect to its investigation of any alleged crime within the jurisdiction of the ICC."

Abante's office said the Philippines is the second country to withdraw from the ICC. It followed Burundi, which left the ICC in 2017.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has said that the resolution needs "serious study," with the Philippines no longer being part of the ICC.

"[This] needs serious study on our part at the DOJ [Department of Justice], considering we are no longer members," Remulla said in a text statement.

The referral of the resolution comes amid tensions between the House, led by Speaker Martin Romualdez, and the Duterte family over the 2024 budget. 

House leaders have squashed talk of impeaching Vice President Duterte over the confidential funds, and the Speaker's cousin, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has stated he doesn't want her impeached.

Resolutions are referred to the appropriate committee for study. The panel then recommends a course of action to the whole House.

The Marcos administration has so far maintained that it no longer is cooperating with the ICC. -- With a report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News.​


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