July 19, 2018, 6:04 am
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PH withdrawal from ICC ‘void,’ says Trillanes

OPPOSITION Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV yesterday claimed that President Duterte’s withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC) is “void from the start” because there was no concurrence from the Senate.

Trillanes said in a privilege speech Executive Order 459, which was signed by President Fidel Ramos in January 1998, does not state that a treaty should be published in order to take effect. 

He said EO 459 only states that the Department of Foreign Affairs should comply with the treaty once it receives notice of the Senate’s concurrence.

But Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, interpellating Trillanes, said there is nothing in the Constitution that provides for a Senate concurrence in case of withdrawal from a treaty.

“We should limit the use of the Constitution to the actual use. Senate concurrence is needed in the ratification, so entering into treaties, not in the withdrawal,” Pimentel said.

Trillanes insisted that Senate concurrence is required by the Constitution “by implication.” 

He said if Senate concurrence is required in entering into any international agreement, then it should follow that the same concurrence is needed in withdrawing for check and balance purposes.

He said the Supreme Court has to intervene if the issue will be raised for clarification.

Pimentel warned Trillanes that it is dangerous to assume implications in the Constitution.

Trillanes, together with Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, has filed before the ICC a supplemental complaint accusing Duterte of committing crimes against humanity in connection with his intensified war on drugs.

NO DUE PROCESS

President Duterte, in his speech at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) graduation rites in Silang in Cavite, said he will not get due process if the ICC continues with its inquiry against him even after the Philippines withdrew its ratification of the Rome Statute that created the international body.

Duterte insisted that the treaty did not take effect in the Philippines since the previous administration failed to publish the Rome Statute in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation after the Senate ratified it.

The Philippines signed the Rome Statute in 2000 and ratified and endorsed it in 2011.

The President, in addressing the PNPA graduates, said just because the Rome Statute is a treaty does not mean that it is already binding to the country, contrary to the claim of some people.

“You’ll put me in jail without due process of law? Where is the due process there? No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. What is the due process involved here? Publication,” he said.

The ICC said the withdrawal has no impact on ongoing proceedings against Duterte. It also said the withdrawal would only be effective a year after the notice of withdrawal was served.

‘HIGHLY POLITICIZED’

Russian ambassador Igor Khobaev said his country also withdrew from the ICC since its activities were “highly politicized” and are used sometimes to put pressure on “some selective government, selective countries.”

“We cannot accept certain approach that’s why my country decided to withdraw from the Rome Statute. I understand why your country took the same decision but it’s up to the Philippine government, the Philippine society to make assessments, to make steps in this decision. But, for us, we respect it,” Khobaev said in an interview on ANC News.

Moscow signed the Rome Statute in 2000 but did not ratify the document, and later withdrew from the ICC in 2016.

It took the decision to withdraw from the tribunal after it published a report classifying the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine as an occupation.

US Embassy Press Attache Molly Koscina stressed the importance of cooperation with the tribunal.

Koscina said Washington is also not a signatory to the Rome Statute but it continues to work for rule of law and the ability of the tribunal to continue its works. – With Jocelyn Montemayor and Ashzel Hachero
 
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