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De Lima upset after SC blocks her from oral arguments on ICC issue

/ 02:59 PM August 08, 2018

Senator Leila De Lima expressed disappointment on the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) denying her request to argue personally the case of the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

De Lima, a former Commission of Human Rights (CHR) chair, lamented being bar to join a “very personal” case to her, saying that it reflects the “hostility of the President to international human rights institutions.”

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“The withdrawal from the ICC is a self-serving act of the President, and is the best reason why the Constitution could not have contemplated that one man alone should be able to revoke and abrogate a whole nation’s solemn obligations to the international community,” De Lima said in a statement on Wednesday.

Voting 10-2, the High Court decided to deny the request of the senator to argue in the upcoming oral arguments on the Philippines’ withdrawal from ICC.

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Majority of the justices believe that the case will not be “prejudiced” if a lawyer other than De Lima argued their petition before the Court.

Despite the SC decision, De Lima said she will look for “a proper course of action” to ensure that the case will be duly heard by the High Court.

Two groups of petitioners challenged President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to pull the country out of the ICC.

The first group comprises the opposition senators, who appealed to the Court to give De Lima, who has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, a special furlough so she can argue the case on their behalf.

The other group is the Philippine Coalition for the ICC (PCICC), a group which will be represented by Romel Bagares, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s former chief of staff.

The oral arguments are set for August 14.

The withdrawal was a reaction to the ICC starting an examination of alleged crimes against human rights in the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign.   /vvp

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