Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar stressed anew that discussions on the country’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) is moot as Philippines has never been a party to the Hague-based tribunal and even if it were, ICC has no cause to intervene because the country has a capable and robust justice system.
In a phone patch interview on Monday with Magik Tacloban, Sec. Andanar reiterated the Palace’s position that Philippines was never a party to the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, because the treaty was never published in the Official Gazette or any newspaper of general circulation.
The treaty thereby failed to meet the publication requirement for a law to become effective in the country under the New Civil Code.
The PCOO Chief remarked, “Ignorance of the law excuses no one but only if the law is published and everyone was given the time to read the law. So kapag hindi mo na-publish, ibig sabihin hindi binigyan lahat ng pagkakataon na malaman kung ano ang nakasaad dito sa [Rome Statute]. Therefore, hindi po talaga tayo kasama sa ICC just like the US, China, Russia at napakarami pang bansang di kasali d’yan.”
“Naglabas po ng statement ang US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at sinabi nga po n’ya na kung sinuman ang mga ICC personnel na pumasok sa America para imbestigahan ang kanilang mga diumano’y war crime or human rights violations sa Afghanistan ay di po bibigyan ng visa,” he added.
The Communications Secretary also noted that ICC can only act if the state party is unwilling or incapable of dispensing justice. This is not the case, however, in the Philippines. He emphasized, “Ang ating justice system ay gumugulong…gumagana po. Lahat ng human rights violations ay kinakasuhan. Kita niyo naman, ‘yung pumatay kay Kian dito sa Caloocan ay kinasuhan na. Walang exempted sa batas dito sa ating bansa.”
A Caloocan court has already sentenced three cops for killing Kian Loyd delos Santos during one of the government’s anti-illegal drugs operations in the area.
The Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute became final on Sunday, a year after the country formally submitted its letter of withdrawal. As stated in its letter to the ICC, the Philippines decision to withdraw was a “principled stand against those who politicize and weaponize human rights.” (PR)