Senate nod needed to rejoin ICC, says Senator De la Rosa
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government would need to redo the process of returning to the fold of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which would require the concurrence of two-thirds of the membership of the Senate, Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said on Monday.
Dela Rosa, one of the respondents of the cases lodged with the ICC, said President Marcos cannot unilaterally rejoin the ICC without Senate ratification, which his predecessor, then President Rodrigo Duterte, did to withdraw in 2018.
“If [the Philippines] wants to rejoin, that would have to go through the process—our representative in the Hague would signify our intent to recognize again the agreement, it has to be ratified by the President, and after the President’s ratification, it has to be concurred by the Senate by two-thirds vote,” he said.
‘Back to square one’
“So that’s the process. [It’s] back to zero, back to square one,” Dela Rosa said in an interview over ANC’s Headstart.
Dela Rosa was reacting to reports quoting Mr. Marcos on the government’s plan to return to the ICC, five years after such recognition was revoked by Duterte as it launched an investigation of his administration’s bloody war on drugs.
But while he believed that it was valid for Duterte to have renounced membership in the ICC even without ratification by the Senate, Dela Rosa thinks that a looming return to the fold would have to secure the approval of two-thirds of the current senators.
“We need to go back to that process which is mandated by the 1987 Constitution. Otherwise, any presidential action to rejoin will become unconstitutional if we do not comply with what the Constitution says about that process,” he said.
“But back then, it was very simple. It’s as simple as we no longer want in, so we just withdrew,” he said.
He, however, did not cite the legal basis for his position.
Dela Rosa was the chief of the Philippine National Police when Duterte launched a massive crackdown against illegal drugs, with more than 6,200 killed in drug-related police operations, according to government data.
Vice President Sara Duterte, for her part, on Monday said they would reach out to the Department of Justice (DOJ) about her office’s position on whether the country should cooperate with the ongoing ICC investigation of her father’s war on drugs.
In an interview, Duterte said that while she respects the position of Mr. Marcos, “we will continue to reach out to the DOJ” as it conducts its own review on proposals for the country to cooperate with the probe or even return as a member-nation of the Rome Statute that established the ICC.
Duterte herself has opposed the proposals—first floated by members of the House of Representatives—arguing that allowing the ICC to investigate crimes that could have been handled by the local justice system would “insult and embarrass” the country’s courts.
“To allow ICC prosecutors to investigate alleged crimes that are now under the exclusive jurisdiction of our prosecutors and our courts is not only patently unconstitutional but effectively belittles and degrades our legal institutions,” the Vice President and education secretary said in a statement on Nov. 23. INQ