Abante: Calls for ICC cooperation also about protecting rights of accused | Inquirer News

Abante: Calls for ICC cooperation also about protecting rights of accused

/ 10:59 AM November 29, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. has maintained that resolutions calling on the Philippine government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation on the drug war not only seek justice for victims but also protect the accused’s right to due process.

Abante, during the joint hearing of the House Committee on Justice and Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday, explained that cooperating with the ICC would mean people accused of committing the crime against humanity of mass murder can air their side.

ICC has started its investigation of the drug war as implemented by former president Rodrigo Duterte, but the current administration maintained that it would not engage with the court.  However, three House resolutions — including that from Abante, a Majority member — have asked the government to cooperate with the probe.


“This is not just about the international community; it is about standing up for the rights and dignity of our own citizens.  Keep in mind that this resolution is also about protecting the human rights of those being investigated — their right to due process, their right to be innocent until proven otherwise,” Abante, chairperson of the committee on human rights, said in his opening speech.


The joint committee hearing is set to discuss three House resolutions asking the government to cooperate 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 Committee on Human Rights and Committee on Justice.  Last November 22, the two committees started discussing the resolutions but chose to defer talks to invite more resource persons and to wait for Lagman’s resolution to be read on first reading at the plenary.

Duterte and his former police general, now Senator Ronald dela Rosa, are two of the individuals accused of committing mass murder in the drug war.

According to government data, over 6,200 individuals have died during the drug war during Duterte’s term; however, human rights organizations claim that the actual death toll may be anywhere between 12,000 to 30,000.

In response to the complaints, Duterte declared in March 2018 that the Philippines is 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).

READ: Trillanes revives call on Marcos to let ICC probe Duterte for alleged EJKs 

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TAGS: Abante, ICC, International Criminal Court, Probe

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