Jinggoy boosts govt. resolve vs. ICC

DOJ insists PH would ‘not bow down’ to ICC’s ‘political agenda’

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THE government’s opposition to the non-ending interference by the International Criminal Court over its domestic affairs was boosted after Sen. Jinggoy Estrada filed Senate Resolution 492 last Monday, February 20, 2023, “expressing the strong opposition of the Senate” on the insistence of the ICC to continue with its probe of the country’s ‘War on Drugs’ during the administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.

Jinggoy added that while he was among those who voted for the country’s accession to the ICC when it was tackled in the chamber some 12 years ago, during the Noynoy Aquino administration, his concurrence has been rendered “moot and academic” after the country’s withdrawal from the ICC that became effective on March 17, 2019.

The Philippines was a member of the ICC starting on November 11, 2011.

However, the ICC claimed it can still investigate, covering the period when the country was still a member, or the events that took place from July 1, 2016 to March 16, 2022.

Jinggoy’s move follows on the heels of a relate resolution filed last February 16, 2023 by House Deputy Speaker and former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the Lower Chamber, aimed at shielding Duterte from the clutches of the ICC.

Despite making it clear to the ICC that the country, thru the Department of Justice (DOJ) has a well-functioning criminal justice system and has been conducting and prosecuting erring law enforcers involved in the killing of some drug suspects, the ICC, on the recommendation of its ‘Pre-Trial Chamber,’ agreed last January 26, 2023, to proceed with its probe.

“As I have pointed out in Senate Resolution No. 492, our domestic institutions are fully functional and more than capable to address the concerns raised by the Prosecutor of the ICC Karim A. A. Khan QC and our government formally conveyed this to the ICC in a letter dated November 10, 2021,” Jinggoy told Senate reporters.

“Our Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service have in fact investigated the alleged crimes committed between July 1, 2016, to March 16, 2019, under the so-called war on drugs campaign and such effort resulted in the filing of four criminal cases before the courts,” he stressed.

Jinggoy said also motivating him to oppose the ICC is the court’s “disrespect” of the country’s sovereignty.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin ‘Boying’ Remulla warns ICC not to ‘monkey around’ the country’s justice system (photo from his FB page).

ICC ‘political agenda’ slammed

For his part Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, in a separate interview the same day that Jinggoy filed his resolution, stressed the Philippines will “not bow down” to the “political agenda” of the ICC.

“‘Yung political agenda na ‘yan, (that political agenda) we will not bow down to that,” Remulla told journalists covering the DOJ.

He added that “even though it is a court that tries crimes, the ICC is a political body in many ways.”

“It is not just a body for justice, but it is meant to forward a political agenda for many people. Why do I say this? Because we are a country with a legal system that can function by itself and they want to take over some of our functions just to criticize the way we run our country before,” the Justice chief explained.

Remulla also warned the ICC “not to monkey around” the country’s legal system.

“If they want to put into themselves the judicial powers of this country then they will be committing a violation of our legal system.

“Just a fair warning: do not monkey around with our legal system,” he said.

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