From saying in August 2022 that the Philippines “has no intention” of rejoining the International Criminal Court (ICC), President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. now says the Philippines’ return to the Netherlands-based tribunal is “under study.”
Several public figures have cited the country’s withdrawal from the ICC as justification in claiming that the tribunal did not have jurisdiction over the drug-related killings before 2019 under the Duterte administration. VERA Files Fact Check has repeatedly debunked these claims.
In a media interview on Friday, Nov. 24, after the inauguration of a hospital in Taguig City, a reporter asked Marcos about his thoughts on a resolution filed on Nov. 21 in the House of Representatives urging relevant government agencies to cooperate in the ICC’s probe of the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs.
Describing the House resolution as “not unusual,” Marcos replied:
“As I have always said, there are still some problems in terms of jurisdiction and sovereignty. Now, if you can solve those problems then that would be something else. […] There is also a question: Should we return under the fold of the ICC? So, that’s again under study. So, we’ll just keep looking at it and see what our options are.”
Source: RTVMalacañang Official Facebook Page, WATCH: President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. answers questions from the media | November 24, 2023, Nov. 24, 2023, watch from 00:50 to 01:33
This is a shift from Marcos’ statement on Aug. 1, 2022, a day after meeting with his administration’s legal executives to discuss their position on the ICC probe. The president said then:
“The Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC. […] Eh, sinasabi naman namin may imbestigasyon naman dito at patuloy rin naman ang imbestigasyon, bakit magkakaroon ng ganoon?”
(The Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC. We’ve been saying that there’s an investigation here and it’s been ongoing, why would we need them here?)
Source: RTVMalacañang Official Facebook Page, WATCH: President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. visits a COVID-19 vaccination site at Pasig City Sports Center, Aug. 1, 2022, watch from 10:30 to 11:26
In July last year, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I invited drug war victims and the Philippine government to submit their comments until Sept. 8, 2022 on the request of ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan to continue the drug war probe.
In response, the Philippines asked the Pre-Trial Chamber to deny Khan’s request to continue the investigation.
In January this year, the ICC resumed its full-blown investigation of the drug war and rejected the Philippine government’s appeal to suspend the probe two months later.
The Philippines withdrew from the ICC in March 2018 in reaction to former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s launching of a preliminary examination into the drug war killings under the term of then-president Rodrigo Duterte. The country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, took effect on March 16, 2019.
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House of Representatives, House Resolution No. 01477, Nov. 21, 2023
RTVMalacañang Official Facebook Page, WATCH: President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. visits a COVID-19 vaccination site at Pasig City Sports Center, Aug. 1, 2022
International Criminal Court, Philippine Government’s Observation on the Office of the Prosecutor’s Request, Sept. 8, 2022
(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.)