Romualdez: Resolutions calling for ICC cooperation ‘sense of the House’
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez has maintained that the resolutions calling on the Philippine government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) probe of the previous administration’s drug war is the sentiment of some House lawmakers.
In an ambush interview on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the Sugpong Merkado Barato launch in Cebu, Romualdez was asked about Senator Ronald dela Rosa’s statements about the House resolutions calling for cooperation in the ICC probe.
Dela Rosa, the first Philippine National Police (PNP) chief of former president Rodrigo Duterte who implemented the war against illegal drugs, questioned the timing of the resolutions since Romualdez and Duterte’s daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte, appear to be in a political rift.
“Sense of the House naman ‘yan e. ‘Yan ang mga hinaing ng ibang mga kongresista, magkakaroon tayo ng tamang panahon, sa hearings kung saan ilalabas ‘yong mga arguments for and against po,” Romualdez told local reporters.
(That’s the sense of the House. That’s the grievance of some House lawmakers. We would have the right time, at the hearings, where they can raise their arguments for and against this.)
Currently, there are three resolutions filed before the House asking the government to resume cooperation with the ICC probe:
- House Resolution (HR) No. 1393, filed by ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro, Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel last October 17
- HR No. 1477 filed by House committee on human rights chairperson and Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. and 1-Rider party-list Rep. Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez last November 20
- HR No. 1482 filed by Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman last November 21
All three resolutions have been forwarded to the House committees on human rights and on justice.
Last November 22, the two committees started discussing the resolutions but chose to defer talks to invite more resource persons and wait for Lagman’s resolution to be read on first reading at the plenary.
Dela Rosa, one of the respondents in the ICC cases filed by relatives of drug war victims, maintained that cooperating with ICC or an eventual return to the Rome Statute — the agreement that created the said international court — would be detrimental.
Dela Rosa said this after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. — who previously said that he was not keen on talking with the ICC — said that the government is studying a return to the agreement.
A return to the ICC, observers say, may indicate huge cracks within the Uniteam, the 2022 elections campaign team of President Marcos and Vice President Duterte, since the latter’s father is directly involved in the discussions.
Several crimes against humanity raps were filed by drug war victims’ relatives against Duterte and implementers of the drug war including dela Rosa, based on claims that the state forces committed mass murder and gross human rights violations in the process.
In response to the complaints, Duterte declared in March 2018 that the Philippines was leaving the Rome Statute, maintaining that the ICC can no longer investigate as it has no jurisdiction over the country.
Duterte also insisted that he has not done anything that would merit such complaints.
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).