SC orders gov’t to respond to senators’ petition vs PH withdrawal from ICC
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the executive department to respond to the petition filed by opposition senators seeking to declare the Philippine government’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as ineffective.
At a press conference, Information Chief Atty. Theodore Te said the respondents have 10 “non-extendible” days from notice to submit their comment.
Named respondents were Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo, Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, and Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Teodoro L. Locsin.
The high court set the oral argument on the petition on July 24.
The Philippine government has already notified the United Nations that it is withdrawing from the ICC last March 17.
The decision to withdraw was made following the announcement of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that she would push through with her investigation on the spate of killings related to the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
Opposition Senators Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino, Leila De Lima, Risa Hontiveros and Antonio Trillanes IV asked the Supreme Court to nullify the government’s action, stating that the Senate is mandated by the Constitution to ratify a treaty or an international agreement.
They pointed out that under Article VII, Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution, “entering into treaty or international agreement requires participation of Congress, that is, through concurrence of at least 2/3 of all the members of the Senate.”
The senators said the executive department cannot unilaterally repeal a law or withdraw from a treaty or international agreement. Moreover, notifying the UN of the country’s withdrawal without concurrence of at least two-thirds of the Senate can be considered grave abuse of discretion. /ee
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