Press Release
June 22, 2021

Dispatch from Crame No. 1079:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima On Duterte's defense on the non-publication of the Rome Statute

Duterte made the flimsy excuse last night that he cannot be placed under the jurisdiction of the ICC and its processes because the Rome Statute was "not published by the Bureau of Printing." That may be the case, but only if Duterte is defending himself from prosecution under a municipal or domestic law enforceable within Philippine jurisdiction.

But he is not. He will soon be investigated and prosecuted under an international treaty known as the Rome Statute whose effectivity is governed not by municipal laws, but by its own provisions, i.e., through ratification. Municipal laws of effectivity do not bind a treaty body, such as the ICC. Once the Philippines submitted its instrument of ratification to the Rome Statute, it effectively and fully became a State party to the Rome Statute.

To follow Duterte's novel reasoning would now mean that the Philippines has not effectively ratified any international treaty since the enactment of the Civil Code of the Philippines, including ratification of its membership to the UN, ASEAN, and every other international body of importance to the country. The logical consequences of Duterte's defense are unimaginable. Just to save himself and his death squads from ICC investigation, he is willing to obliterate all Philippine instruments of treaty ratification, making it an international pariah of not being a State party to any treaty ever entered into by States of the modern world.

DFA Secretary Teddyboy Locsin should tell Presidential Spox Harry Roque to stop putting stupid ideas about international law in Duterte's mind. Roque should be reminded that as a so-called student of international law, he very well knows that treaties become effective by ratification, and not by being sent to the Bureau of Printing. No right-minded bar examinee will answer a question on how treaties become effective by saying they become effective when they are sent to the Bureau of Printing.

Duterte of course is excused from such ignorance of international law. After all, he spent most of his lawyering years as a Davao prosecutor, not as a professor of international law like Roque. But if Duterte is to be followed, then the DFA might as well prepare to be stripped of its embassies and consulates abroad, and our ambassadors and consuls shorn of their diplomatic immunity because, after all, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations was never published by the Bureau of Printing before it was ratified by the Philippines.

Duterte of course is grasping at straws in last ditch efforts to save himself from investigation and prosecution by the ICC. He very well knows that the ICC can go after him, otherwise he will not devote so much time disparaging and belittling the international tribunal. He might as well, this early, escape to China or, God forbid, expire prematurely, because no amount of ridiculous international law lessons from Roque will stop his world from getting smaller every day that people in The Hague go to work.

Duterte told me at the height of the Kangaroo Bilibid hearings held in Congress in 2016 to just kill myself because I am going to jail. Well, I am still here, still fighting and surviving everything that he has thrown at me. I just hope he won't follow his own advice out of his desperation.

(Access Dispatch from Crame No. 1079, here:

News Latest News Feed