SC candidate says Duterte can withdraw from ICC without Senate concurrence
One of the candidates to the Supreme Court believes that the President can unilaterally withdraw from a treaty without the concurrence of the Senate.
Lawyer Rita Linda Jimeno, Associate Dean of the Centro Escolar University School of Law, said the President could invoke the doctrine of rebus sic stantibus in withdrawing from a treaty such as the case of President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to unilaterally withdraw the country’s membership from the International Criminal Court.
She explained that the international law doctrine of rebus sic stantibus allows the withdrawal from a treaty if a fundamental change of circumstance renders it inapplicable.
Jimeno said this during Thursday’s interview with members of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC). She is one of the aspirants to the associate justice spot which was rendered vacant when Teresita Leonardo-de Castro was appointed chief justice.
During the interview, Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Mendoza asked her who is the architect of the Philippines’ foreign relations. He also asked Jimeno if it is the President and she agreed.
“With respect to foreign relations, the President has the power to determine its policies with respect to its relations with other nations,” she said.
Mendoza asked if she is aware of a general principle in international law called Pacta Sunt Servanda. Jimeno said she forgot the definition, but the retired justice, who is also a member of the JBC, offered an explanation, saying that it is a principle that requires parties to a treaty to comply with its obligations in good faith.
He asked if it is incorporated in the constitution; Jimeno answered in the affirmative.
“The Constitution says that our treaty should be respected and they become part of the law of the land,” she said.
Jimeno, however, explained that while entering into a treaty required confirmation from the Senate, by invoking rebus sic stantibus, a country, like the Philippines, need not ask the Senate for approval, such as in the case of the ICC withdrawal.
The question on whether Duterte’s move to withdraw from the ICC without Senate concurrence is legal is still pending in the Supreme Court.
Aside from Jimeno, the JBC also interviewed Sandiganbayan Justice Alex D.L. Quiroz. There are also 10 more applicants vying for the position of Associate Justice whose previous interviews remain valid — Court of Appeals Justices Oscar V. Badelles, Manuel M. Barrios, Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr., Rosmari D. Carandang, Stephen C. Cruz, Edgardo L. Delos Santos, Japar B. Dimaampao, Ramon D.R. Garcia, and Amy C. Lazaro-Javier, and former Ateneo Law Dean Cesar L. Villanueva. /ee
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