Escudero supports gov’t decision to explore calls for PH rejoining ICC
Escudero Supports Government’s Decision to Explore Calls for the Philippines to Rejoin ICC
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Sunday backed the decision of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to study calls for the Philippines to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC), five years after the country’s withdrawal.
The Philippines withdrew its membership at the ICC in March 2018 after its prosecutor’s office launched an initial inquiry into the alleged extrajudicial drug killings in the Philippines during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Para sa akin tama iyong sinabi ng Pangulo na dapat ito ay pag-aralang mabuti dahil may mga pinasok tayong tratado na tayo naman ang nagbabayad palagi at tayo ang nagdurusa,” Escudero said in a radio interview.
(In my opinion, what the President said is right, that this should be thoroughly studied because we entered into treaties where we are always the ones paying and suffering.)
Citing the country’s participation in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris as an example, Escudero said that the Philippines should make well-informed decisions when entering treaties with international bodies.
FATF is an intergovernmental organization that was established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.
“Katulad na lamang ng FATF, sumali tayo d’yan kaya tayo ang naba-blacklist. Ang Malaysia, hindi sumali kaya kahit anong gawin nila, hindi sila maba-blacklist,” the senator said.
(Just like with the FATF, we joined it, that’s why we got blacklisted. Malaysia didn’t join, so no matter what they do, they won’t get blacklisted.)
Countries in FATF’s “blacklist,” which include North Korea, face economic sanctions from other FATF-member countries.
As of 2022, the FATF has retained the Philippines in its “gray list,” citing its alleged failure to resolve “strategic inadequacies in countering money laundering, terrorist and proliferation financing.”
“The FATF urges the Philippines to swiftly implement its action plan to address the above-mentioned strategic deficiencies as soon as possible as all deadlines expire in January 2023,” the intergovernmental organization said in its website.
“Kaya itong ICC ay dapat pag-aralan din ng Pangulo. Ano nga ba ang mapapala ng ating bansa kung tayo ay muling papasok dito?” Escudero said.
(So, the President should also study this ICC. What exactly will our country gain if we re-enter it?)
“Let’s hope that politics or personal reasons won’t dictate our re-entry into the ICC. The Executive Branch should thoroughly explain if they indeed decide to rejoin,” the senator said in Filipino.
In the event that the Philippines indeed rejoins ICC, Escudero said the Senate may either issue a concurrence or a resolution supporting the move of Marcos.
“The President is the chief architect of our foreign policy. The House has no role in foreign policy. So, if he signs, that’s when the discussion will begin on whether there is a need for Senate concurrence or not,” the senator said in a mix of Filipino and English.
Meanwhile, former Senate President Franklin Drilon has previously said that in his view, Marcos can rejoin the ICC without Senate concurrence.
“In my view, the concurrence of the Senate is not necessary for the Philippines to rejoin the [ICC]. The Philippines can rejoin the ICC without returning to the Senate,” Drilon said in a statement on November 29.
Marcos, on November 24, said that the Philippines is considering resuming its membership at the ICC.
READ: Bongbong Marcos: Gov’t studying possible return to ICC