SolGen: Bongbong Marcos has final say on gov’t cooperation with ICC | Inquirer News

SolGen: Bongbong Marcos has final say on gov’t cooperation with ICC

/ 01:53 PM November 30, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has the final say on whether or not the government will cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its probe into the previous administration’s bloody “drug war.”

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra made this clear to lawmakers on Wednesday as the House committees on justice, and human rights conducted a joint hearing to discuss three House resolutions seeking government cooperation with the ICC investigation.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra says Bongbong Marcos has the final say on government cooperation with ICC's "drug war" probe

FILE PHOTO: Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra. INQUIRER/ MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

The ICC has resumed its full-blown investigation of the Duterte administration’s brutal campaign against illegal drugs. However, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. maintained that the administration would not engage with the international body.


During the joint hearing, Bukidnon 2nd District Rep. Jonathan Keith Flores asked Guevarra if the House resolutions would have any effect.


Guevarra recognized the resolutions as an expression of the House’s sentiment. He also said that the President may or may not take action on it.

“My question is, if the House approves the three resolutions, and the Senate approves its similar resolution, will the government agencies like your office and the DOJ (Department of Justice) still wait for the decision of the President, regardless of the resolutions passed by the House?” Flores asked.

READ: ICC junks PH plea to stop probe into deaths linked to war vs drugs

“Certainly, Your Honor, because your resolutions urge the President to cooperate, so the final say of whether, in fact, the government would cooperate would be the President.  Yours is an expression of sentiment; that is how you feel about it, but that is not something that is binding,” Guevarra answered.

“It all depends on the final decision of the President whether he will grant your request that we cooperate, that’s on him, and he has repeatedly declared […] that we cannot give our cooperation to the ICC prosecutor, he said that several times.  Now if he will think twice because of this resolution coming from the Congress, eh it’s up to him to decide,” the solicitor general added.

Guevarra also said the ICC is free to conduct its investigation, but the government, as of now, will not cooperate or provide material assistance to ICC investigators.


READ: Marcos told: Comply with ICC probe to give justice to victims of Duterte’s drug war

As for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Commissioner Faydah Dumarpa said they would cooperate with ICC, an independent organization.

“Your Honor, the Commission is more than willing to coordinate if the ICC so deems that they need our cooperation,” she said.

“We are an independent, constitutionally-created commission for the promotion and protection of human rights. Therefore, we may, and we’ll be happy to cooperate if the ICC deems fit that they need assistance from the Commission on Human Rights,” she added.

READ: 2 House panels adopt reso calling on PH gov’t to cooperate with ICC probe

In the latter part of the House joint hearing, the panels approved the three resolutions, namely:

  • House Resolution 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
  • House Resolution 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
  • House Resolution No. 1482 filed by Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman last November 21.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte and several of his officials, including former national police chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, have been accused of committing the crime against humanity of mass murder for allegedly playing significant roles in the implementation of the drug war.

READ: VP Sara Duterte says any ICC probe in PH is ‘patently unconstitutional’

According to government data, more than 7,200 people died in the drug war during Duterte’s term, although human rights organizations claim that the actual death toll may be anywhere between 12,000 and 30,000.

In response to the complaint before the ICC, Duterte declared in March 2018 that the Philippines is leaving the Rome Statute – the international treaty establishing the international court.

Duterte maintained that the ICC could no longer investigate the Philippines since it had no jurisdiction over the country.

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Duterte also insisted that he has not done anything that would merit such a complaint before the ICC.

TAGS: Drug war, International Criminal Court, Probe

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