Minority lawmakers urge Marcos admin: Cooperate in ICC probe, rejoin tribunal

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Minority lawmakers urge Marcos admin: Cooperate in ICC probe, rejoin tribunal
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s decision to not rejoin the international tribunal “could prove to be a costly miscalculation," lawyer Kristina Conti said.
Philstar.com / Enrico Alonzo

MANILA, Philippines — Minority lawmakers appealed Friday to the Marcos administration to cooperate with the International Criminal Court and rejoin the Hague-based tribunal as it reopened its investigation into the Philippines' bloody "war on drugs" that left thousands dead.

“Let us cooperate as we are a responsible member of the world community of nations,” Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said in a text message as he warned that the Philippines might suffer “reputational damage” if it does not participate in the ICC probe.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said in a statement that she hopes that all government agencies involved would cooperate in the investigation “so we may give justice and peace of mind to all of the victims.”

Hontiveros added that it is necessary for President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who has actively engaged with the international community, to express cooperation with the ICC investigation and rejoin the tribunal which the Philippines left in 2019 following orders of former President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been accused of "crimes against humanity" before the international court.

“This increased international participation also makes it only appropriate for the Philippine government to rejoin as a state party to the Rome Statute as soon as possible,” Hontiveros said, referring to the treaty that created the ICC.

In a separate statement, Rep. France Castro (ACT Teachers party-list) said it is best that Marcos decides to bring back the Philippines into the ICC.

“It is imperative that those responsible for these crimes are held accountable for their actions and it would be best that Pres. Marcos Jr. return to the ICC,” Castro said.

But Marcos has so far rejected suggestions to return to the ICC. His administration intends to appeal the tribunal’s decision to reopen its investigation.

RELATED: In first 100 days in office, Marcos rejects hopes for Philippines rejoining ICC

In a statement Thursday, the ICC said its pre-trial chamber "is not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant investigations that would warrant a deferral of the court's investigations".

"The various domestic initiatives and proceedings, assessed collectively, do not amount to tangible, concrete and progressive investigative steps," it added.

Officially, 6,181 people were killed in Duterte's "war on drugs" but rights groups say that up to 30,000 may have been killed, some innocent victims, and that corruption was rife among security forces that acted with impunity.

There were only two convictions of law enforcers involved in the "drug war"—the murder of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos, and the torture and frame-up of 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz and 14-year-old Reynaldo ‘Kulot’ de Guzman. — with Agence France-Presse

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