Tolentino wants BI to bar ICC prosecutors from entering PH
MANILA, Philippines — Taking note of recent pronouncements of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. about the Philippines’ ties with the International Criminal Court (ICC), Senator Francis Tolentino on Wednesday said the Bureau of Immigration (BI) should bar the tribunal’s prosecutors from entering the Philippines.
Tolentino, chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said the BI should “prevent the actual presence of the ICC members here either as tourists or in an official capacity.”
“I’m moving for a more extreme measure since this is now an order coming from the Chief Executive. The Bureau of Immigration should likewise follow. Alam naman natin sino iyong pupunta dito na mga prosecutor na mag-iimbestiga. Do not allow entry dito pa lang sa airport,” Tolentino said in an online news conference.
(I’m moving for a more extreme measure since this is now an order from the chief executive. The Bureau of Immigration should likewise follow. We know the prosecutors who will come here to investigate. Do not allow them to enter even our airport.)
On Tuesday, Marcos declared that the Philippines will now “disengage” from the ICC after it rejected the government’s appeal for the suspension of its probe into the “drug war” of the Duterte administration.
Tolentino, a known ally of Duterte, earlier said that the Philippines’ appeal to the ICC was only a “courteous assertion of our sovereignty.”
“Its denial has no binding effect. It will not clothe the ICC with jurisdiction, as there was none in the first place,” he said.
READ: ICC denial of PH bid to suspend ‘drug war’ probe has ‘no binding effect’ – Tolentino
The issue of jurisdiction had repeatedly been raised by Philippine government officials, including Marcos, who cited the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute in 2018.
READ: Duterte does the inevitable, declares PH withdrawal from ICC
But the ICC Pre-trial Chamber and the Supreme Court have both said the Philippines must cooperate with the investigation, noting that the country’s withdrawal does not discharge it from obligations it incurred when it was part of the international treaty that created the ICC.
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