The Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC), led by former Commission on Human Rights chair Loretta Rosales, filed a 49-page petition seeking to void the notice of withdrawal to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court sent by the executive branch to the United Nations Secretary General last March 17.
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Another petition vs ICC withdrawal filed in SC
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Another group questioned before the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday the Duterte administration’s withdrawal of the country’s membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC), led by former Commission on Human Rights chair Loretta Rosales, filed a 49-page petition seeking to void the notice of withdrawal to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court sent by the executive branch to the United Nations Secretary General last March 17.

PCICC was represented by counsels led by Romel Bagares, a former law firm partner of presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

The group is a non-government organization composed of individuals and groups that campaigned for the Philippines to become a party to the Rome Statute.

They also sought the issuance of an order compelling the Palace to revoke the notice.

Roque said President Duterte is the chief architect of foreign policy of the country so the decision to withdraw the country’s membership from the ICC is an act better left to the powers of the Chief Executive. 

Roque invoked the Chief executive’s authority after the PCICC filed a 51-page petition asking the Supreme Court to void the government’s notice of withdrawal from the United Nations treaty that created the ICC.

“We reiterate that the President is the chief architect of the country’s foreign policy. The Constitution makes no mention that concurrence of the Senate is necessary to validate the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court,” Roque said.

Roque insinuated that the SC should not meddle into the issue, referring to the separation of the three branches of government.

“Again, this is not an issue that can be addressed by a certiorari. Hence, the courts must defer matters on foreign affairs to the executive,” he said.

Six opposition senators filed a similar petition last month with exactly the same pleading.

Just like the senators, the PCICC argued that the withdrawal from the ICC violated the Constitution, which requires ratification of treaties and international agreements by the Senate.

“The President gravely abused his discretion in an act tantamount to an absence or a lack of jurisdiction, when he unilaterally decided to withdraw the membership of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court, as his act violated the constitutional system of checks and balances in treaty making under Art. VII, Sec. 21 of the 1987 Charter, which prescribes a shared duty towards that end between the executive and the legislative branches of government,” read the petition.

Petitioners further alleged that the withdrawal from ICC should be voided because it was “based on capricious, whimsical, ridiculous, misleading or misled, incoherent and/or patently false grounds, with no basis in fact, law or jurisprudence.” 

The new petition named Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations Teodoro Locsin Jr. as respondents.

The high court acted last week on the earlier petition filed by Sens. Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros and Antonio Trillanes IV.

The SC ordered the respondents to file comment within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice and also set oral arguments on the case for July 24.

President Duterte announced last March the government’s withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute, a UN treaty creating the ICC.

The Chief Executive cited “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and his administration as the reason for his withdrawal as a state party.

The move came after ICC special prosecutor Fatou Bensouda started a preliminary examination on the alleged human rights violations amid the Duterte administration’s intensified war on drugs. – With Christina Mendez

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT SUPREME COURT
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