CHR's offer to assist International Criminal Court puzzles Calida

"Where did they get the authority? Is the CHR a different branch of the government?" Calida said in a press conference on Tuesday. Miguel De Guzman, file

CHR's offer to assist International Criminal Court puzzles Calida

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - February 13, 2018 - 9:58pm

It is an obligation under the Rome Statute

MANILA, Philippines — Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday questioned the readiness of the Commission on Human Rights to assist in the International Criminal Court examination into allegations against President Rodrigo Duterte.
"The CHR, they are bragging that they will do the investigation. Where did they get the authority? Is the CHR a different branch of the government?" Calida said in a press conference on Tuesday. The CHR did not actually brag that it would do that and its chairman merely said it is ready to help the ICC prosecutor.
The CHR is an independent body created by the 1987 Constitution. Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, to which the Philippines is a state party, "states parties shall... cooperate fully with the Court in its investigation and prosecution of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court." 
The ICC, last week, announced that it will start its preliminary examination into the alleged extrajudicial killings linked to the Duterte administration's bloody war against drugs. A preliminary examination is different from a preliminary investigation in criminal cases.
Over the weekend, CHR chair Chito Gascon said in a statement that they are "ready, willing and able" to aid the ICC in its preliminary examination, if such a communication is extended to them.
Gascon added: "As a party to the Rome Statute, the entire government, particularly the law enforcement, justice institutions, is under the an obligation to assist the ICC in all ways possible."
The CHR has long been the subject of tirades from the Duterte government. During the deliberation on the annual budget for 2018, the House of Representatives initially allocated P1,000 for the office, which Duterte also defended. 
But Calida cast doubt on Gascon's credibility, as the former said that the human rights chairperson is a "stalwart of the Liberal Party," the de-facto opposition party.
"Apparently, they are using their powers against the president," Calida also said.
The CHR is a independent constitutional office that investigates all forms of human rights violations.

OSG: International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction

Earlier, OSG spokesperson Erik Dy said that the ICC has no jurisdiction over Duterte as the Philippine courts continue to function.
The OSG cited the pending petitions challenging the government's memorandum on the Philippine National Police's Oplan Tokhang and Department of Interior and Local Government's Masa Masid project.
The SC has earlier directed Calida to yield the voluminous records of the police's ongoing investigation of thousands deaths linked to drugs, but the solicitor general asked the high court to rescind the order.
He said the documents "are not relevant" in the petitions. 
The ICC is a "court of last resort" that investigates individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern. In its website, the ICC said that it is governed by the Rome Statute.
The ICC can investigate if the state does not or is "unwilling or unable to do so genuinely."
Human rights watchdogs estimate that more than 12,000 have been killed during the course of the government’s brutal war on drugs.
But according to the latest #RealNumbersPH release, there have been 6,309 drug-related deaths from July 1, 2016 to Jan. 17, 2018. Of these cases, 2,235 were tagged as homicide cases under investigation.
Related video:

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with