By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA – There have not been any discussions yet between President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla since two House panels adopted a resolution calling on the government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Friday.
“I don’t believe that the Secretary and the President have spoken yet,” DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano said in a Palace press briefing, when asked if Remulla is in touch with Marcos to tackle the call of some lawmakers for the government to cooperate with the ICC’s probe into former president Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war.
“With the new news coming out, they haven’t talked maybe for about a week about the issue,” he added.
Clavano, however, said Marcos and Remulla already had previous discussions about the ICC’s investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity associated with the anti-narcotics campaign launched during Duterte’s term.
“It’s something that is way above my pay level so I believe it’s something that has to be discussed between the Secretary and the President,” he said.
The House of Representatives’ Committees on Justice and Human Rights on Wednesday unanimously adopted a consolidated resolution, urging the Marcos administration to cooperate with the ICC investigation on Duterte’s war on drugs.
The House panels approved House Resolution (HR) 1476 authored by Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. and 1-Rider Party-list Rep. Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez, which was consolidated with HR 1482 by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, and HR 1393 of Party-list Reps. France Castro (ACT Teachers), Raoul Manuel (Kabataan), and Arlene Brosas (Gabriela).
The joint panel would still have to submit its Committee Report to the plenary for approval of the whole House of Representatives.
In an interview in Taguig City on Nov. 24, Marcos said it is “not unusual” for House lawmakers to ask his administration to cooperate with the ICC’s investigation, but believed that the international court’s supposed jurisdiction over the Philippines remains “problematic.”
While he maintained his stance that the Philippines could solve its domestic affairs, Marcos said the question as to whether the Philippines should “return under the fold of the ICC” is “again under study.”
Remulla on Nov. 21 said lawmakers’ proposal needs to undergo closer scrutiny.
In July, Marcos said the Philippine government would no longer get in touch with the ICC after rejecting its plea to suspend its investigation into Duterte’s drug war.
The Philippines formally cut ties with the ICC on March 17, 2019, exactly a year after Duterte ordered the Philippines’ termination of the Rome Statute that created the international court. (PNA)