Solon files reso urging PH gov’t to cooperate with ICC drug war probe
MANILA, Philippines — The House committee on human rights chairperson and Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. has filed a resolution that urges the different departments in the executive branch to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation of rights violations in the drug war.
During the plenary session on Wednesday, House Resolution (HR) No. 1477 from Rep. Abante and 1-Rider Rep. Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez was referred to the House committee on justice for deliberation.
If the resolution is adopted, it means the House is urging relevant departments under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration to cooperate with the ICC’s probe into the drug war during former president Rodrigo Duterte’s time.
“House Resolution No. 1477, urging the appropriate Philippine departments and agencies to extend their full cooperation to the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC with respect to its investigation of any alleged crime within the jurisdiction of the ICC, including but not limited to the crime against humanity of murder committed in the Philippines in the context of the so-called war on drugs campaign,” the resolution’s title stated, as read by the House deputy secretary-general.
According to copies of the resolution sent to reporters, Abante and Gutierrez noted that the Supreme Court has already reinforced the ICC’s view that it still has jurisdiction over the country, despite the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute.
Duterte declared the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the agreement that created the ICC, based on his beliefs that there was a concerted effort between the ICC and the United Nations special rapporteurs to paint him as a ruthless violator of human rights and someone behind extrajudicial killings.
“The ICC has maintained that it retains jurisdiction with respect to any alleged crime that occurred on the territory of the Philippines while it was a State Party, from 1 November 2011 up to and including 16 March 2019, to the Rome Statute, notwithstanding the withdrawal of the Philippines as State Party to the same statute that took effect on March 17, 2019,” Abante and Gutierrez’ resolution stated.
“The ICC’s jurisdiction was reinforced by the Supreme Court of the Philippines when it rendered a judgment specifying that: ‘Further, the ICC retains jurisdiction over any and all acts committed by government actors until March 17, 2019. Hence, withdrawal from the Rome Statute does not affect the liabilities of individuals charged before the ICC for acts committed up to this date,’” they added.
In the past, President Marcos has maintained that the government will not talk with the ICC since the international court only comes into the picture if the justice system in a country is not functioning.
Several crimes against humanity raps were filed by drug war victims’ relatives against Duterte and implementers of the drug war — including Duterte’s first police chief and now Senator Ronald dela Rosa — based on claims that state forces committed mass murder and gross human rights violations in the process.
It was Dela Rosa who coined the term “Tokhang,” a combination of Visayan words “toktok” or to knock, and “hangyo” or to plead.
The senator is not fazed though, saying that the resolution remains a resolution unless President Marcos acts on it — because the departments take orders from the Chief Executive.
“If that resolution is approved by the House of Representatives, it will remain a resolution unless acted upon favorably by the President who has made clear his decision not to allow ICC to intrude our sovereignty. These gov’t agencies are taking orders from the President and not from Congress,” Dela Rosa said in a separate statement.
However, several groups recently urged Marcos to allow the ICC to start its probe after Duterte supposedly admitted in a televised program to using secret funds to conduct extrajudicial killings (EJKs).
The Magdalo group headed by former senator Antonio Trillanes IV pointed to an interview with Duterte over Sonshine Media Network International last October 16 where the former president can be heard saying that he used the intelligence funds to kill everyone.
“Ang intelligence fund, binili ko, pinapatay ko lahat, kaya gano’n ang Davao. ‘Yong mga kasama ninyo, pina-tigok ko talaga. ‘Yon ang totoo,” Duterte said at the SMNI program.
(The intelligence fund, I used it to order the killing of everyone, that’s why Davao is like that. Your peers, I had them dead. That’s the truth.)