The Duterte government is courting the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) admission of the Communications filed in connection with extrajudicial killings in pursuit of its war on drugs because of its inaction on the 5,000 cases of death during police operations, lawyer Gilbert Andres said.
Andres, one of the trustees of the Philippine Coalition for ICC, which filed a petition with the Supreme Court to stop the withdrawal of the Philippines from the ICC, said, “the Kian de los Santos conviction is not enough to show that there is no inaction on the part of the Philippines.”
De los Santos was killed in a Caloocan police operation on the night of Aug.16, 2017. Cops reported the 17-year-old was a “drug runner” carrying a gun and resisted arrest. But a CCTV footage and a handful of witness accounts later disputed the report — he was seen wearing a shirt and boxer shorts being dragged by plain-clothes police. Three cops were convicted of murder in November 2018 at a Caloocan regional trial court.
Andres also said the country is still obliged to cooperate with the ICC on the investigations even after its withdrawal takes effect on March 17, 2019. Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo maintains otherwise.
In a press briefing on March 14, Panelo reiterated that the ICC never had “jurisdiction” over the Philippines. In March 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte argued that the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC, was never enforced in the country since it was not published in the Official Gazette as required by Philippine laws. A 1997 executive order by former President Fidel Ramos providing guidelines in negotiation and ratification of international agreements does not mention a publication requirement for treaties to be in effect.
Here is a timeline of the country’s membership to the ICC, once highlighted by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago as helpful in protecting the overseas Filipino workers. “It will put the Philippines in a better position to protect Filipino overseas, when they might suffer crimes against humanity in pursuing work abroad,” the late senator said in 2011. — Elijah Roderos