House panel defer talks over reso on cooperation in ICC probe

House panels defer talks over reso on PH’s cooperation in ICC probe

/ 01:30 PM November 22, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Two House of Representatives panels have deferred discussions on resolutions asking the Philippine government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation on rights abuses in the drug war, as more resource persons are needed for talks.

Aside from that, the House committee on justice and the committee on human rights decided on Wednesday to wait for another resolution from Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, which has yet to pass through the first reading.

Currently, two resolutions are being discussed by the two committees: House Resolution (HR) No. 1393 from Makabayan bloc lawmakers Reps. France Castro, Arlene Brosas, and Raoul Manuel; and HR No. 1477 from Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. and 1-Rider party-list Rep. Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez.


During the earlier hearing, Lagman said that he filed HR No. 1482 to establish whether the ICC has jurisdiction over the country, despite former president Rodrigo Duterte withdrawing from the ICC last March 2018.


Duterte and several of his administration’s officials were the subject of several complaints over alleged rights abuses in the drug war.

READ: Duterte does the inevitable, declares PH withdrawal from ICC

“I would like to manifest that yesterday, I filed a similar resolution No. 1482, and hopefully it will be subject to first reading this afternoon.  It is essential that we first establish and confirm the verity of the following factual and legal parameters with respect to the subject House Resolutions,” Lagman said.

“No less than the Supreme Court on July 22, 2021, categorically ruled that the ICC has jurisdiction over the commission of covered crimes filed against president Duterte and others […] Considering that the ICC prosecutor has jurisdiction to investigate former president Duterte and his co-respondents, pursuant to world order and rule of law, the concerned agencies of the Philippine government must perforce cooperate with the ICC investigators,” he added.

Due to the presence of a similar resolution, Abang Lingkod party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano and Bukidnon 2nd District Rep. Jonathan Keith Flores, who is the committee on justice vice chair, urged the committees to suspend deliberations and request the attendance of resource persons whose views may be important for the resolutions.

“Now, Mr. Chairman, with that, I think it is just right and proper that we should invite authorized (persons) and get legal opinions to those resource persons that will be invited in the next hearing, particularly the Department of Justice and in fact, we should also invite a representative from the Supreme Court because in the House Resolution No. 1477, the Supreme Court was quoted with regards to the jurisdiction of the ICC from November 1, 2011, to March 17, 2019,” Paduano said.


“With that, Mr. Chairman, since we don’t have resource persons to shed light on this issue, especially the question of the jurisdiction of the Philippine government with regard to the ICC intervention, I’d rather move Mr. Chairman to suspend the deliberation of both House resolutions, Mr. Chairman,” he added.

“I support the move of Congressman Paduano, and at the same time Mr. Chair, to allow the resolution also filed by Representative Edcel Lagman to be taken up together with the existing resolutions. It may be prudent for us to at least wait,” Flores responded after Paduano made the motion.

Brosas then asked that relatives of the drug war victims also be invited to have their side heard by the panel.

During the plenary session on Tuesday, HR No. 1477, authored by Abante and Rodriguez, was forwarded to the two committees for discussion.

If the resolutions — including Lagman’s — are adopted, it means the House will officially urge relevant departments under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration to cooperate with the ICC’s probe into the drug war.

In the past, 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 the state forces committed mass murder and gross human rights violations in the process.

READ: Marcos okays PH disengagement from ICC, asserts sovereignty over drug war probe

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However, several groups have 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.

TAGS: Drug war, House, House panel, ICC, Probe

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