The minority senators, in filing a petition for certiorari and mandamus, claimedthe country’s pulling out of the Rome Statute is “invalid or ineffective” for lack of concurrence of the Senate.
Senate/PRIB, File
Minority senators ask SC to declare ICC withdrawal invalid
Gaea Katreena Cabico (philstar.com) - May 16, 2018 - 4:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — Opposition senators have asked the Supreme Court to declare invalid the country’s withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.

The minority senators, in filing a petition for certiorari and mandamus, claimed that the country’s pulling out as a state party to the Rome Statute is “invalid or ineffective” for lack of concurrence of the Senate.

Concurrence by two thirds of all members of the Senate is required in the ratification of treaties.

The petitioners also asked the high court to compel the executive department to cancel, revoke or withdraw its instrument of withdrawal received by the United Nations secretary general on March 17.

The senators who filed the petition were Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino, Leila De Lima, Risa Hontiveros and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Last March, the Philippines announced it would be withdrawing from the ICC, a month after the international tribunal opened a preliminary examination into the alleged crimes against humanity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

An examination is not an investigation, a point that the Palace stressed before finally announcing the withdrawal.

Need for Senate nod?

The power to bind the Philippines to a treaty or international agreement is vested jointly by the 1987 Constitution in the president and in the Senate.

"No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate," the constitution states.

Last year, 14 senators filed Senate Resolution No. 289, which expresses the sense that the chamber should have a say on when a treaty or international agreement concurred in by the Senate is terminated. 

But the resolution’s main author, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, said that it has yet to be adopted and is non-binding. Sen. Manny Pacquiao, an ally of the president, blocked the measure.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque remains confident that the petition will not fly.

“I do not think there is any legal basis. The president remains the chief architect of foreign policy and this is not a matter that can be cured by certiorari (review by a higher court),” he said.

READ: Can the Philippines leave the ICC without Senate concurrence?

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