President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has claimed that his administration can no longer appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) following the rejection of its request to suspend the resumption of the drug war investigation. This is false because the government’s main appeal for a reversal of the ICC’s Jan. 26 decision allowing a resumption of the probe has not been decided.
During a March 29 media interview, reporters asked Marcos about the next step the government would take after the ICC Appeals Chamber, which hears petitions on admissibility and jurisdiction, junked the government’s request to issue a suspensive effect pending the resolution of its appeal against the Jan. 26 decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber I to resume the probe.
“We don’t have a next move. That is the extent of our involvement with the ICC. That ends all our involvement with the ICC because hindi na tayo pwedeng mag-appeal (we cannot appeal anymore). The appeal has been – the appeal has failed. And there’s – in our view, there is nothing more that we can do in the government.”
Source: RTVMalacañang official YouTube channel, Media Interview by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. following the Pag-IBIG Fund Chairman’s Report (transcript), March 28, 2023, watch from 06:50 to 07:13
“And so at this point, we essentially are disengaging from any contact, from any communication, I guess, with the ICC … We ended up with the same position that we started with, and that is, we cannot cooperate with the ICC considering the very serious questions about their jurisdiction and … what we consider to be interference and practically attacks on the sovereignty of the Republic.”
Source: watch from 07:13 to 07:52
Only the government’s request to suspend the resumption of the drug war probe was junked by the ICC Appeals Chamber on March 27. The Marcos administration still has one pending appeal — its main petition — that seeks to reverse the Jan. 26 decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber I that allowed Prosecutor Karim Khan to resume the investigation.
Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra even had to clarify during a March 29 interview in the ABS-CBN News Channel that the government’s appeal against the decision is still pending before the Appeals Chamber, saying he would send a memorandum to Marcos to clarify the matter.
In its notice of appeal on Feb. 3, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) asked the Appeals Chamber to overturn the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber I, a separate judicial branch of the ICC that authorizes the court’s prosecutor to launch an investigation on complaints. (See PH notes errors in ICC ruling on drug probe, presses for reversal)
Until the resolution of its appeal for reversal, the OSG wanted the Chamber to block the implementation of the Jan. 26 decision.
On March 27, the Appeals Chamber denied the OSG’s suspension request due to its failure to substantiate its claim that the continuation of the probe, despite the ICC’s alleged lack of jurisdiction, would create an irreversible situation with far-reaching consequences that would be “difficult to correct.”
It also noted the government’s failure to promptly submit its arguments, doing so only when it filed an Appeal Brief on March 13. (See ICC denies PH request to suspend drug war investigation)
The chamber, however, clarified that the denial of the government’s suspension request is “without prejudice to its eventual decision on the merits” of the Philippines’ appeal on the Jan. 26 ruling.
The ICC investigation covers alleged crimes against humanity that occurred under the Duterte administration’s drug war from July 1, 2016 to March 16, 2019, as well as in the Davao region from November 2011 to June 2016.
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RTVMalacañang official YouTube channel, Media Interview by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. following the Pag-IBIG Fund Chairman’s Report (transcript), March 28, 2023
International Criminal Court official website, Philippine Government’s Notice of Appeal against the Pre-Trial Chamber I’s “Authorisation pursuant to article 18(2) of the Statute to resume the investigation” (ICC-011 21-56) with Application for Suspensive Effect, Feb. 3, 2023
International Criminal Court official website, Public Redacted Version of “Authorisation pursuant to article 18(2) of the Statute to resume the investigation”, Jan. 26, 2023
ABS-CBN News Channel official YouTube channel, Headstart: PH Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra on ICC drug war probe, March 29, 2023
International Criminal Court official website, Decision on request for suspensive effect of Pre-Trial Chamber I’s “Authorisation pursuant to article 18(2) of the Statute to resume the investigation” of 26 January 2023 (ICC-01/21-56), March 27, 2023
International Criminal Court official website, Philippine Government’s Appeal Brief against “Authorisation pursuant to article 18(2) of the Statute to resume the investigation”, March 13, 2023
(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.)