Press Release
November 28, 2023

Hontiveros files Senate reso urging Malacañang to cooperate with ICC probe in PH

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday filed a Senate resolution urging Malacañang to finally cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and assist the international tribunal in its investigation of the human rights situation in the Philippines.

In proposed Senate Resolution No. 867, Hontiveros noted that no less than President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has vowed "to promote human rights and a 'high level of accountability' for human rights violations."

"The best way for Malacañang to show its commitment to upholding human rights is to work with the ICC in securing justice for human rights violations victims, and in upgrading mechanisms of human rights protections in the Philippines. Ayon sa mga pinakahuling pahayag ng Pangulo, mukhang posible itong kooperasyon na matagal nang hinihingi ng mga biktima ng human rights violations at ng kanilang pamilya," Hontiveros said.

President Marcos has recently confirmed that his administration is studying the possibility of the Philippines resuming its membership in the ICC, nearly five years after former President Rodrigo Duterte led the country in withdrawing from the Rome Statute - the ICC's founding treaty.

According to Hontiveros' resolution, the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC on March 16, 2018 - done amid an active ICC probe of summary killings linked to the "War on the Drugs" - does not mean that the country no longer has any obligation to cooperate with the international tribunal.

The resolution cited Article 172(2) of the Rome Statute, which provides that "withdrawal shall not affect any cooperation with the Court in connection with criminal investigations and proceedings in relation to which the withdrawing State had a duty to cooperate and which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective, nor shall it prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter which was already under consideration by the Court prior."

Likewise, the resolution pointed out that the Supreme Court, in the landmark ruling Pangilinan v. Cayetano, declared that the Philippine's withdrawal "does not undermine or diminish the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction and power to continue a probe that it has commenced while a state was a party to the Rome Statute," and "does not discharge a state party from the obligations it has incurred as a member."

"The Philippines has historically been at the forefront of advancing humanitarian law and international justice, and it is high time that we affirm our commitment to these values before the international community," Hontiveros' resolution said.

"The recent pronouncements by the President, his allies and his deputies offer hope for a "gamechanger" for the families of Kian delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, Reynaldo "Kulot" de Guzman, and thousands of other Filipino families seeking justice for human rights violations. Sana ay hudyat na ito ng mas matibay na pagpapahalaga ng pamahalaan sa hustisya at karapatang pantao - at hindi pakitang tao lamang," Hontiveros concluded.

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