Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Tuesday filed a resolution opposing the International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to resume its investigation of the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs.
It was the second Senate resolution after Senator Robin Padilla’s seeking to defend former President Rodrigo Duterte from the ICC investigation.
In his resolution, Estrada said the country’s Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service have in fact investigated the alleged crimes committed during the drug war, which claimed thousands of lives.
These efforts, Estrada added, resulted in the filing of four criminal cases before the courts.
On September 15, 2021, the pre-trial Chamber of the ICC authorized the Office of the Prosecutor to investigate crimes committed in the Philippines during Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.
In a letter to Prosecutor Karim Khan, the Philippine government informed the ICC that it is investigating its nationals and others for the alleged drug-related crimes which happened between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019.
Due to this, the government requested the deferral of the ICC investigations and proceedings.
The Philippine government has the first responsibility and right to prosecute crimes, it said.
Estrada’s resolution stated that the ICC may exercise jurisdiction where the national legal systems fail–was not the case in the Philippines.
Domestic institutions are fully functional and more than capable to address the concerns raised in the Prosecutor’s Notification, the resolution said.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Saturday that the Philippines will not cooperate with the ICC because it has a “good” and working justice system.
Speaking to reporters in Fort del Pilar, Baguio City, Mr. Marcos said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines, which he emphasized is a sovereign nation.
“My position has not changed. I have stated it often, even before I took office as President, that there are many questions about (ICC’s) jurisdiction, and what we in the Philippines regard as an intrusion into our internal matters and a threat to our sovereignty,” he said.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla assailed the ICC, asking why it was investigating the government’s war on drugs and not the drug cartels.
“If the ICC really wants to investigate, why don’t they investigate the drug cartels destroying our country? That’s why we had a drug war,” Remulla said.
Remulla earlier expressed hopes that the reopening of the inquiry into the Duterte administration’s drug war was not politically motivated.
The ICC recently authorized the reopening of an inquiry into the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs.
Remulla and other government official insisted that the ICC had no jurisdiction in the Philippines after the country withdrew from the Rome Statute in March 2019.
The Philippine government through the Office of the Solicitor General submitted a notice of appeal to the ICC Appeals Chamber, saying it disagreed and rejected the conclusions of the Pre-Trial Chamber when it authorized the reopening of its investigation.
Remulla said the country was fighting a “silent drug war” because cartels were still active.
“Why don’t they investigate that? Why don’t they investigate syndicates that traffic children and women? They can investigate so many other matters on people’s rights,” the Justice secretary said.