Philippines’ withdrawal from ICC faces new challenge at SC


Philippines’ withdrawal from ICC faces new challenge at SC

Kristine Joy Patag ( – June 13, 2018 – 1:13pm

MANILA, Philippines — The executive department’s withdrawal of the Philippines’ membership in the International Criminal Court is facing another challenge at the Supreme Court.

The Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court, chaired by Etta Rosales, on Wednesday filed a 51-page petition urging the SC to declare as void the Philippine Notice of Withdrawal from the ICC, due to lack of parliamentary approval from the Senate.

The PCICC, a non-government organization whose members “campaigned for the Philippines to become a State Party to the Rome Statue.”

This is the second petition assailing the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute. Minority senators, led by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, filed in May a petition also challenging the country’s withdrawal from the international tribunal.

The petitioners claim that the chief executive’s decision was “based on capricious, whimsical, ridiculous, misleading or misled, incoherent and/or patently false grounds, with no basis in fact, law or jurisprudence.” They noted that the withdrawal of the country’s membership came after the international tribunal opened a preliminary examination into the alleged crimes against humanity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

The withdrawal, said the group, “denies Filipinos their right to redress in the event of state default from its obligations, in particular as these pertain to the commission of the most heinous international crimes against its own citizens.”

The ICC has started a preliminary examination into the alleged crimes against humanity committed by the Duterte administration in the conduct of its crackdown against the illegal drug trade.

The preliminary examination stemmed from the communication sent by Jude Sabio, lawyer of self-proclaimed Davao death squad member Edgar Matobato. The lawyer claimed that Duterte was behind the killing of 1,400 people in Davao City and 7,000 drug suspects nationwide.

The petitioners also accused Duterte of committing grave abuse of discretion when he “unilaterally” decided to withdraw the country’s membership.

Duterte’s act, according to the petitioners, violated the Constitutional system of checks and balances in treaty-making under Article VIII, Sec. 21 of the 1987 Charter.

They stressed while the president is the chief architect of our foreign policy, Duterte’s order “runs against an expressed legislative policy” prescribed also in the International Humanitarian Law.  

The SC en banc last week set oral arguments on the case on July 24.