By Fernan Angeles
THERE is no way that the International Criminal Court (ICC) can force the Philippines to cooperate with its probe on alleged drug war killings since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office back in 2016.
Responding to the Supreme Court decision that the Philippines has the obligation to cooperate with the ICC despite its withdrawal from the Rome Statute in 2019, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque cited lack of enforcement mechanism.
“The lack of enforcement mechanism cannot compel the Philippine government to cooperate,” Roque told Palace reporters when asked on where the administration stands over the SC ruling.
The Supreme Court made the ruling in its decision junking the petitions challenging the withdrawal of the Philippines from Rome Statute which established the ICC, citing that the Rome Statute’s provision stating that such exit does not affect criminal proceedings pertaining to acts that occurred when a country was still a state party.
Roque, however, maintained that the Supreme Court ruling dismissing petitions questioning legality of the Philippines’ withdrawal as state party without Senate concurrence by stating such are moot and academic clearly presumes regularity.
“The main issue here is that the Senate concurrence is not needed in withdrawing from the ICC. No change in our policy. They won’t rule that the petition is moot and academic if there is a violation of law,” the Palace mouthpiece added.
Former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, before her retirement, asked the ICC to probe the Duterte administration’s drug war since there is “reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in the context of the drug war.”
Bensouda, in a 52-page report, cited police, human rights groups, media reports and confidential sources in concluding that the drug war killings which numbered over 20,000 had a pattern of killing suspects who are not resisting arrest, with some even begging for their lives to be spared.