Senate resolution filed to cooperate with ICC

Marc Jayson Cayabyab - The Philippine Star
Senate resolution filed to cooperate with ICC
“The Philippines has historically been at the forefront of advancing humanitarian law and international justice, and it is high time that we affirm our commitment to these values before the international community,” Hontiveros said in her Resolution No. 867.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros yesterday filed a resolution urging the administration to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s investigation of the war on drugs, a long shot which she hopes will give justice to the thousands killed during former president Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

“The Philippines has historically been at the forefront of advancing humanitarian law and international justice, and it is high time that we affirm our commitment to these values before the international community,” Hontiveros said in her Resolution No. 867.

In the resolution, the opposition senator cited the 2021 Supreme Court decision Pangilinan v Cayetano, which states that the Philippine government’s withdrawal “does not undermine or diminish the ICC’s jurisdiction and power to continue a probe that it has commenced while a state was a party to the Statute.”

Hontiveros denied that her resolution was just politicking, after a similar resolution was set to be taken up at the House of Representatives allegedly upon the imprimatur of Speaker Martin Romualdez, with whom Vice President Sara Duterte had a falling out.

At a press briefing yesterday, Hontiveros said the quest for justice of the surviving kin of thousands killed during the previous administration’s bloody crackdown had been a long time coming. “This resolution is seven years too late,” she said.

Hontiveros filed the resolution following President Marcos’ seeming softened stance on the ICC, when the latter said last Friday that the Philippine government will consider rejoining the Rome Statute.

But the President also raised questions of sovereignty on the ICC’s jurisdiction, as he noted there is no need for an ICC probe with the country’s working justice system.

Hontiveros said that while the courts in the country are capable of carrying out justice, there were only two cases of convictions of police officers for the deaths of teenagers Kian Delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman.

“If there were only two convictions out of the almost 30,000 victims, that is a small percentage in the last seven years. Our judicial system is working, but it is fair to say that we need the support from an international institution such as the ICC, as part of our treaty obligations to the Rome Statute,” Hontiveros said.

Dela Rosa offended

Sen. Ronald dela Rosa yesterday said he was offended by the resolution filed by Hontiveros, whose late husband Frank Baraquel was Dela Rosa’s “mistah”or batchmate in the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1986.

“I feel bad, to tell you frankly. Of all people, it had to be her,” Dela Rosa said at a press briefing yesterday, referring to Hontiveros. “She will just tell me not to take it personally. But it is personal to me, because I am one of the subjects being investigated.”

Dela Rosa said he does not think Hontiveros’ resolution will gain traction in the Senate.

But if it does, Dela Rosa said the resolutions against the ICC investigation earlier filed by Duterte allies Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Robin Padilla and Bong Go should also be tackled by the committee.

Asked if he would still talk to Hontiveros, Dela Rosa angrily said, “No!” adding that he is not one to be two-faced.

“I am not plastic. I am frank. I am not into smiling at others and then stabbing them in the back after,” Dela Rosa said in Filipino.

“The timing is questionable, that it had to be filed when there is a rift between the Dutertes and the Speaker of the House. If they are really sincere, why did it take them so long to file the resolution?” Dela Rosa said.

The senator earlier said that he is ready to be investigated for his role in the drug war deaths, but only in Philippine courts.

Courting trouble

Hontiveros’ resolution urging cooperation in the ICC’s investigation is “courting trouble,” according to Sen. Imee Marcos.

“So they really want trouble?” Marcos said. “With the number of problems that good rice is at 60 (a kilo). It’s hard to earn money, with Christmas nearing. It’s (ICC) not important. Why are they making it an important thing? It is not the right time.”

“This is really trouble. They’re really looking for trouble. For me, the decision is really with the executive department,” Marcos said in an interview with Senate reporters.

At the same time, Marcos said that former president Rodrigo Duterte is not bothered at all with the issues on the ICC. “Well, PRRD has said, “Bring it on!” she said.

The senator, however, pointed out that “the decision to cooperate or not to is one for the Executive, and my brother, the President of the Philippines, has already made it clear that the ICC has no jurisdiction to conduct the probe. I share that view.”

Even if she does not agree with the resolution, Sen. Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on foreign affairs, said she would immediately set a committee hearing to hear the measure.

Long overdue

But for ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro, justice for victims of extrajudicial killings during the Duterte administration is “long overdue.”

According to Castro, investigating these killings during the Duterte administration was impossible to happen because he is the one being complained about.

“How can you expect the investigation to prosper when he is subject of the complaint? Even senator Bato was among those being complained of,” Castro said, referring to Dela Rosa.

Castro noted the Duterte administration had used the structure of the entire government during the 17th and 18th Congress to deny justice to the victims of the anti-drug war.

“Thousands of people were killed in the drug war of the father of VP Duterte and until now, justice has been elusive to them. How about them,” Castro noted in reaction to the request of Vice President Sara Duterte to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to cooperate with the ICC.

According to Castro, Duterte could be “afraid” that her role in the extrajudicial killings during the term of her father would be brought up, as stated by self-confessed Davao Death Squad leader Arturo Lascañas in his affidavit submitted to ICC.

“Justice delayed is justice denied. The Filipino people have been crying for justice for many years now, do not deny it to them,” she added. — Sheila Crisostomo, Cecille Suerte Felipe

vuukle comment


  • 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!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with