Metro Manila— President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the government has no other recourse than to disengage from any contact with the International Criminal Court (ICC) after the tribunal rejected the Philippines’ request to suspend the investigation into the Duterte administration’s war on drugs pending a ruling on Manila’s main appeal against the resumption of 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,” Marcos told reporters on Tuesday, saying “the appeal has failed.”
“There is nothing more that we can do in the government and so at this point we essentially are disengaging from any contact, from any communication I guess with the ICC,” he said. “We cannot cooperate with the ICC considering the very serious questions about their jurisdiction and about what we consider to be interference and practically attacks on the sovereignty of the republic.”
In a March 27 resolution, the ICC’s Appeals Chamber rejected the Philippines’ request to pause the investigation while its appeal remains pending.
“In the absence of persuasive reasons in support of ordering suspensive effect, the Appeals Chamber rejects the request. This is without prejudice to its eventual decision on the merits of the Philippines’ appeal against the Impugned Decision,” it added.
“This means while the appeals chamber considers the question, the prosecutor may proceed with investigation,” ICC assistant to counsel Kristina Conti explained.
After the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber authorized the resumption of the drug war probe in January, the Office of the Solicitor General on March 13 filed an appeal brief which sought the reversal of the ICC’s decision to resume the investigation.
In an interview with CNN Philippines on Tuesday, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said while it may appear a “dead end” for now on the part of the government, specific individuals whom the ICC may investigate can still question the tribunal’s jurisdiction and the admissibility of the case.
Guevarra also maintained that the probe should have been halted pending the final outcome of the main appeal to prevent possibly irreversible harm to the Philippines.
“Kung sakaling in the end ay magiging desisyon pala ay wala silang jurisdiction, the harm has already been done,” Guevarra argued, calling the latest resolution “quite unfair.”
“Meron nang nangyari na hindi na natin mare-reverse, kasi maaaring meron nang ipaaresto ‘yang prosecutor, mae-embarrass na, mahu-humiliate na ang Republic of the Philippines before the international community,” he added.
[Translation: If in the end, the ruling is that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the country, the harm has already been done by then. There could have been irreversible actions, because the prosecutor may have already ordered the arrest of certain individuals, and the Republic of the Philippines would have been humiliated before the international community.]