By Ernie Reyes
MANILA – Senator Leila De Lima on Thursday said that the decision of the Supreme Court on the unilateral withdrawal of Duterte from the Rome Statute is yet another reminder of how Duterte abused the Office of the President by bending our foreign policy, albeit unsuccessfully, solely for his personal benefit.
With this, Senator Risa Hontiveros also said that despite the dismissal of the opposition’s petition to junk Duterte’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the Supreme Court acknowledged that the president’s power of withdrawal from treaties is not without limitation.
“Ano pa nga ba ang dahilan ng pag-alis ni Duterte mula sa Rome Statute/ICC kundi para iwasan ang mga napipintong kaso laban sa kaniya at sa polisiya niya ng malawakang pagpatay sa ilalim ng kaniyang War on Drugs?,” De Lima said.
De Lima said that she took comfort in the fact that the Supreme Court echoed the pronouncement of the former ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda when it declared that our withdrawal from the Rome Statute did not operate to discharge our country from obligations incurred while we were still a state party.
“Ibig sabihin, mananagot at mananagot pa rin si Duterte sa mga kasalanang naganap bago opisyal na nakaalis ang Pilipinas sa ICC noong March 17, 2019,” she said.
“The decision likewise implied that the Rome Statute was in full effect prior to our withdrawal. This means that Duterte’s two-bit theory that the Rome Statute was ineffectual due to lack of publication does not hold water,” De Lima added.
The lady senator from Bicol said that the bottomline is that Duterte’s own Supreme Court maintains that he is still covered by, and proceeded against, under the Rome Statute in spite of his unilateral withdrawal of our country therefrom.
“Duterte should stop playing politics, exhibiting pathetic defiance, and instead start consulting with his lawyers and face the charges against him, ” she said.
Pangatawanan niya ang kaniyang madugong War on Drugs na kumitil ng maraming buhay. Harapin niya ang kaniyang kaso upang mabigyan ng hustisya ang libu-libong mga Filipino na naging biktima ng EJK,” she concluded.
Statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros on the SC ruling on petitions challenging the unilateral withdrawal of PH from the Rome Statute
Meanwhile, Hontiveros said she respects the decision of the Supreme Court in relation to the petition the Senate Minority filed challenging the Duterte administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the Rome Statute.
“I am glad that despite the dismissal of the petition, the Supreme Court nonetheless acknowledged that the president’s power of withdrawal from treaties is not without limitation, and that the president may not unilaterally withdraw from treaties on which the Senate imposed conditions for its concurrence,” she said.
Hontiveros, however, reminded that the Supreme Court has also pointed out that safeguards for human rights and protections against offenses addressed by the Rome Statute remain in place in the country, and that the withdrawal from the Rome Statute will not affect the liabilities of those charged before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for acts committed up to the date of withdrawal.
“In fact, the Supreme Court ruled that withdrawal from the Rome statute will not affect the duty of the Philippine government to cooperate with the ICC in all criminal investigations and proceedings commenced prior to the withdrawal. This means that the withdrawal will not negate any liability for the alleged summary killings and other abuses committed in the course of the so-called War on Drugs,” Hontiveros stressed.
“I have some bad news for human rights violators in the country: They are not off the hook. They have nothing to celebrate. Sooner or later, they will have to face justice for the heinous acts they have committed against the Filipino people,” she ended.