Palace: No need for ICC as PH justice system is ‘functional’
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday reiterated that the Philippines does not need the International Criminal Court (ICC) as its “robust” and “functional” justice system have either ousted or convicted three of its past Presidents over complaints of abuse in authority.
“We have a justice system which is robust, and functional and very effective,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“We have shown to the world that three Presidents have been subjected to the machinery provided by the Constitution relative to ousting them with respect to certain abuses they have committed,” he added.
Former presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Joseph Estrada have been charged and convicted due to corruption charges. Estrada also became the first president in Asia to be impeached from an executive role in 2001. Meanwhile, the government, for the past 30 years, has recovered at least P170 billion in ill-gotten wealth from the Marcos family, whose patriarch, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, ruled the Philippines for 21 years.
Panelo made the remark after the Philippines on Sunday officially pulled out of the ICC, which has launched a “preliminary examination” against President Rodrigo Duterte on alleged crimes against humanity, following a review of a number of communications documenting the complaints.
The Palace official noted that “anybody can file any complaints against any incumbent official” even against Duterte if he indeed violated any law.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, also said that ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda would violate the tribunal’s provisions if she continues her examination of Duterte’s drug war.
Bensouda, in a statement Tuesday, said that her office will continue its preliminary examination into Duterte’s alleged crimes against humanity despite the country’s pullout from the ICC.
“If she does it, it means that she’s violating the provisions of the Rome Statute,” Panelo said.
“The Rome statute says when there is a preliminary examination and or proceeding relative to that, then if this was started prior to the withdrawal of a state party, then the ICC can proceed, there is no preliminary investigation to speak of, only a preliminary examination,” he added. /ee
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