DOJ to study Makabayan bloc’s proposal to allow ICC probe on Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Wednesday said they are studying the call of the Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives to allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) to enter the country and investigate former President Rodrigo Duterte.
Makabayan bloc’s call came after Duterte, on national television, admitted using confidential funds to finance his bloody crackdown against those involved in the illegal drugs trade and communists during his term.
“Kailangan pag-aralan muna namin mga record ng Kongreso, hindi lang second-hand or third-hand sources, kelangan humingi kami ng transmittal sa Kongreso tungkol sa mga usapin dito, sa mga debateng nangyayari, pagpa-file ng resolusyon kung ano ang nangyari sa komite bago ito lumabas,” Remulla told reporters in a press briefing.
(We need to study the records of Congress first, not just second-hand or third-hand sources. We need to request transmittals from Congress regarding the issues here, the debates that are happening, and the filing of resolutions to know what happened in the committee before it is released.)
Remulla said they will also look at existing jurisprudence and legal basis regarding ICC jurisdiction in the Philippines.
The country is no longer a State party from the ICC Rome Statute. On March 16, 2018, the Philippines submitted its notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute after an ICC prosecutor opened a preliminary examination into Duterte’s crimes against humanity.
The withdrawal became official on March 17, 2019.
Remulla said even the ICC has no mechanism on how to exercise jurisdiction over non-member States.
He said even in member States, the ICC cannot just enter and conduct an investigation unless there is no functioning legal system.
When asked if the DOJ will change its stance on the matter, Remulla said for now, their stand is the same — that is, the ICC cannot enter the country to conduct its investigation.
“Wala namang pagbabago. Kailangan lang talaga pag-aralan ang bagay na ito sapagka’t international law ang pumapasok dito, pumapasok din ang Constitutional law, ang sinasabi ng ating Korte, ang ating batas,” he said.
(There’s really no change. What we need to do is to truly study this matter because international law comes into play here, as does Constitutional law, what our Court says, and our laws.)
“Kailangan lang maingat tayo. Kung ang iyong bansa ay meron sistema ng hustisya ng umaandar, bakit mo ipauubaya sa ibang tao ang maghusga sa sarili mong bayan,” Remulla added.
(We need to be cautious. If your country has a functioning justice system, why would you entrust the judgment of your own nation to others?)