Drilon hails SC ruling: Treaties not subject to ‘caprice of one man’
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Friday lauded the decision of the Supreme Court on the issue of the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ratification of the Rome Statute, saying the ruling supports the position that treaties should not be subject “to the caprice of one man.”
Drilon said that while it junked the petitions questioning the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ratification of the Rome Statute, the SC explicitly said that the President had no sole authority to withdraw from treaties or international agreements.
The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC) but the Philippines withdrew its ratification in March 2018 even without the concurrence of the Senate.
“The ruling has far-reaching consequences, it strengthens the system of check and balance. The decision validates the role of the Senate, as representative of the people, in the abrogation, termination, or withdrawal from treaties and international agreements,” Drilon said in a statement.
“The ruling will provide stability insofar as our treaty obligation is concerned. This is a win for the Filipino people, as treaties will not be subject to the caprice of one man,” he added.
Drilon, former justice secretary, made the assertions in response to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s earlier claim that the SC ruling “virtually said” that Senate’s concurrence is no longer needed in withdrawing from treaties or international agreements.
“Hindi naman boboto ang korte na moot and academic kung iniisip nila na merong nalabag na proseso sa ating Saligang Batas. By ruling that it is moot, the court virtually said hindi kinakailangan ang concurrence ng Senado,” Roque said Thursday.
(The court will not vote for moot and academic if they think there’s something violated in our Constitution. By ruling that it is moot, the court virtually said there is no need for the concurrence of the Senate.)
Drilon however stressed that the decision of the high tribunal affirmed the need for Senate’s concurrence in the withdrawal from treaties and international agreements.
“The Court may have dismissed the petition on procedural grounds but the decision made a doctrinal pronouncement, by acknowledging and explicitly ruling that the President may be the “chief architect of foreign policy” but his powers are not absolute,” he pointed out.
“The decision affirms that the realm of treaty-making and abrogation is not exclusive to the President. It is a shared power with the Senate,” he further stressed.
Drilon has been firm that since the Constitution requires Senate concurrence for the validity and effectivity of treaties, the same should likewise be required to terminate them.
Because of his intervention, he said, there are about 17 treaties that include a provision requiring Senate concurrence prior to withdrawal. Among them are the Accession to the Paris Agreement, Convention on Cybercrime and Agreement of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Other opposition senators have also welcomed the SC decision stating that the Philippines is still obliged to cooperate with any ICC investigation even after its withdrawal from the treaty.
“Ibig sabihin, mananagot at mananagot pa rin si Duterte sa mga kasalanang naganap bago opisyal na nakaalis ang Pilipinas sa ICC noong March 17, 2019,” Senator Leila de Lima said in a separate statement Thursday.
(It means that Duterte would still be held liable for all the sins committed even before the Philippines’ withdrawal from ICC took effect on march 17, 2019)
De Lima has been jailed since 2017 over drug charges which she has repeatedly denied.
According to the detained senator, the SC decision also implied that the Rome Statute was in full effect prior to the withdrawal.
“This means that Duterte’s two-bit theory that the Rome Statute was ineffectual due to lack of publication does not hold water,” she said.
“Bottomline is that Duterte’s own Supreme Court maintains that he is still covered by, and proceeded against, under the Rome Statute in spite of his unilateral withdrawal of our country therefrom,” she further said.
De Lima urged Duterte to stop “playing politics” and just face the charges against him over the alleged extrajudicial killings under his administrations.
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