The Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) authorized on January 26, granting the Prosecutor’s request to resume probe on the drug war killings transpired during the former Duterte administration.
Accordingly, ICC is not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant investigations that would warrant a deferral of the Court’s investigations on the basis of the complementarity principle.
“The Chamber concluded that the various domestic initiatives and proceedings, assessed collectively, do not amount to tangible, concrete and progressive investigative steps in a way that would sufficiently mirror the Court’s investigation,” the ICC added in its press release.
However, such declaration did not sit well over several top government officials that yet again insisted ICC should respect the criminal justice system of the Philippines.
Duterte and Marcos Jr. appointed officials like Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, Department of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile made rounds of objection and sentiments of not welcoming the international court.
To Guevarra, ICC’s role is merely complementary.
“Unless there is a clear showing of unwillingness or inability on the part of Philippine government agencies and courts of law to administer justice, the ICC has no reason, much less authority, to take over the investigation in derogation of our status as a sovereign nation,” he added.
As the solicitor general, Guevarra has assured that his office will take necessary actions against the move of the ICC by means of exhausting legal remedies.
“The ICC should respect our criminal justice system, understand its capability and limitations, and not presumptuously impose upon us time limits and procedures that ‘mirror’ its own,” Guevarra said.
Similar to Guevarra, Remulla also vowed that he will not welcome ICC in the country unless that they will respect us.
The ‘us’ that ICC must respect according to Remulla could mean them who refuted the ICC’s intention if not the whole Filipinos at large as various kin of the victims and human rights groups ultimately call to support the resumption of the drug war probe.
As a matter of fact, it is perhaps with the standing 52 cases alongside high-profile cases of Kian delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz with an execution of a guilty verdict against police personnel that incited as reasonable basis for the ICC to proceed with the investigation.
“I will not stand for any of these antics that will tend to question our sovereignty or our status as a sovereign country. We will not accept that,” the justice secretary said.
Remulla also emphasized again about the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute that took effect on March 2019.
However, the ICC retains jurisdiction with respect to alleged crimes that occurred on the territory of the Philippines while it was a State Party.
“I think the world knows that we are a functioning country with a functioning judicial system. This is an irritant that just came in,” he further bragged, annoyed even.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency reported a total of 6,248 killed since the drug war campaign imposition. But human rights groups claimed for it to be more than 12,000 to 30,000.