Marcos: ‘The Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC’


MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:22 p.m.) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the Philippines “has no intention” of rejoining the International Criminal Court (ICC) that is pushing to pursue an investigation into the previous administration’s bloody “War on Drugs.” 

The statement comes after Marcos met with top legal executives, including Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, and Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile last week to discuss the ICC situation. 

However, Marcos clarified that he just gave orders to look into the ICC situation so the country would know how to respond. 

“Sinasabi ngayon na itutuloy ang imbestigasyon e sinasabi naman namin may imbestigasyon naman dito at patuloy rin naman ang imbestigasyon, bakit magkakaron ng ganoon,” Marcos Jr. said. 

(The ICC said it wants to continue the investigation but we’re telling them that we already have an ongoing investigation here at home so why would there be a need for that?)

READ: Marcos, Philippine legal execs meet on ICC situation, but mum on details

Former President Rodrigo Duterte pulled out the Philippines from its ratification of the Rome Statute after the ICC declared that it wanted to investigate the allegations of crimes against humanity in the Philippines.

READ: Duterte announces Philippines' withdrawal from ICC 

The Philippines withdrew from the Court in March 2018, which then took effect on Mach 2019. While Manila is no longer a part of the ICC, the international body is still allowed to conduct investigations in the Philippines. 

However, Philippine officials have maintained that the country has its own functioning justice system. The country promised to conduct its own investigation, however, the ICC was left unsatisfied and is eager to conduct its own investigation.

The country has until September 8 to provide the ICC a response to ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan’s request to pursue the investigation. 

Meanwhile, Marcos maintains that his administration would have to look into the case first, without giving other details of his meeting with other officials last week.

“The ICC is a very different kind of court kaya pinag-aaralan muna,” Marcos Jr. said. “Sinabi ko sa kanila, pag-aralan niyo muna nang mabuti yung procedure para tama yung gagawin natin kasi hindi natin syempre kailangan baka ma misinterpret yung ating mga ginagawa.”

(The ICC is a very different kind of court so we need to study it first. I told them, you need to study its procedures well so that we will do things correctly and we do not misinterpret the things that we are doing.)

Fight for justice continues

Marcos' statement is a big blow to families of "War on Drugs" victims who are calling for justice for their slain loved ones, despite the president's initial statement when he was elected on putting "importance of ensuring high-level of accountability in terms of human rights [violations]."

Meanwhile, the In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) said that while it is “not surprising” that Marcos Jr. “will protect” both the former president and retired police officer Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa from getting prosecuted with charges of Crimes Against Humanity before the Court, relatives of their bloody “drug war” victims will continue to seek justice.

“Relatives’ support groups continue to engage the Court towards pursuing the investigation of willful killings under the war on drugs,” iDEFEND said in a statement.

The victims and their legal representatives have until September 22 to submit to the ICC additional reports.

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