MANILA – Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile on Monday said the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to investigate the Philippines officials over its internal campaign against illegal drugs.
Enrile made this remark after the ICC recently announced its decision to reopen its probe into the deaths associated with the anti-illegal drugs campaign waged by former president Rodrigo Duterte.
“We will not allow any of our officials to be investigated or tried by the International Criminal Court,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 Forum at the Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City.
“I’m telling you as lawyer of the President, I will not allow, as far as I’m concerned, I will not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC. They have no sovereign power over us,” he added.
Enrile, likewise, said ICC investigators must ask permission to enter the country.
If he were to be followed, Enrile even said he will “cause their arrest.” Earlier, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said the Philippines intends to appeal the resumption of the ICC’s inquiry into the country’s anti-illegal drugs campaign before the ICC Appeals Chamber.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla reiterated the government’s position that the ICC can rightfully conduct proceedings only in states without a functioning government and justice system.
“We are doing what it takes to fix the system. We have a functional judicial system and I don’t see where they can come in unless they want to take over our legal system and take over our country. I don’t see that happening,” Remulla said in a press briefing last week.
He said the “unreasonable” decision is not welcome in the Philippines and DOJ “will not stand for any of these antics that tend to question our sovereignty and our status as a sovereign country.”
DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano, for his part, maintained that the Philippines will carry out its own investigation into the deaths associated with Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
He said ICC prosecutor Karim Khan must respect the Philippines’ sovereignty and judicial systems.
“We want to express to ICC and to the special prosecutor, Mr. Khan, just to give us time to conduct our own investigation,” Clavano said during the Saturday News Forum held at Dapo Restaurant and Bar in Quezon City.
On Jan. 27, Khan’s request to continue its probe into “the Situation of the Republic of the Philippines” was granted by the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC). (PNA)