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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: DOJ spox statement on dealing with ICC arrest warrant NEEDS CONTEXT

The Department of Justice is preparing a briefer on the legal options that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. could take in the event the International Criminal Court issues warrants of arrest for those identified in its probe of the drug-related killings during the Duterte administration.

Mico Clavano 2024-05-08 Needs Context

The DOJ briefer is intended to provide the president legal measures he could take and does not signify a change in the administration’s policy of not cooperating with the ICC.

Mico Clavano, spokesperson of the Department of Justice (DOJ), said the agency is preparing a briefer on the legal options that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has in the event that the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues warrants of arrest for people identified in its probe of the drug-related killings during the Duterte administration.

This needs context.

STATEMENT

In an interview on May 8, Clavano explained why the DOJ is preparing an ICC briefer for Marcos. He said:

Aware naman tayo nayung policy nayan ng gobyerno na hindi papasukin ang ICC ay posible namang mag-iba. So it’ll have to be a very objective briefer para malaman ni presidente kung paano siya gagalaw once the ICC warrants of arrest, if ever, are issued. Then, he will know kung ano ‘yung mga legalities, ‘yung mga options niya, at ‘yung mga remedies din.”

(We are aware that the government policy of not allowing the ICC to enter can change. So it’ll have to be a very objective briefer for the president to determine his next moves once the ICC warrants of arrest, if ever, are issued. Then, he will know the legalities, his options and remedies as well.)

Source: ANC 24/7 YouTube Channel, DOJ prepares legal briefer on ICC’s possible arrest of ex-Pres. Duterte | ANC, May 8, 2024, watch from 0:38 to 1:04

FACT

While the DOJ briefer is intended to provide Marcos with the legal options he would have and their implications, the document does not signify a shift in the administration’s position of not following through with any arrest warrant the ICC may issue, Clavano explained.

In a separate interview on the same day, he clarified that the administration’s stance on the issue “has not changed,” and will not cooperate or coordinate with the ICC.

VERA Files Fact Check - THE FACTS: The DOJ briefer is intended to provide Marcos with the legal options he would have and their implications on the issue and does not signify a shift in the administration’s position of not following through with any arrest warrant the ICC may issue. In a separate interview on May 8, Clavano said the administration’s stance “has not changed,” and will not cooperate and coordinate with the ICC.

“That’s our stance right now, but just like any legal counsel to a client will do, they will exert due diligence in presenting to their client all the possible options available and that’s what we’re doing now,” said Clavano in a mix of English and Filipino.

Asked last year if the Philippines will comply with any requests from the ICC to issue a warrant, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla said:

“Hindi. Wala silang gagawin dito, eh. Wala silang kinalaman sa atin dito. At ano gagawin nila, papasukin nila tayo? Gusto ba nilang pasukin tayo bilang isang kolonya na naman? Eh, tapos na ‘yun, eh.”

(No [we will not comply]. They have nothing to do here. They have no business in our country. And what do they want to do, invade us? Do they want to colonize us again? That’s a thing of the past.)

Source: ABS-CBN News, DOJ Secretary Remulla holds press briefing | ABS-CBN News, July 17, 2023, watch from 3:39 to 3:56

Other officials in the Marcos administration have stated that the country will not implement or recognize any warrant issued by the ICC, should there be one.


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(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)