No temporary restraining order issued on International Criminal Court pullout

March 12, 2019
Jose Calida

THE Supreme Court yesterday failed to come up with an order stopping the country’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), thereby making the pullout official starting this Sunday.

The SC failed to resolve the consolidated petitions filed by six opposition senators and Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC) which sought a writ of mandamus compelling Malacañang to take back the withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute, a United Nations treaty creating the ICC.

A court insider, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak, disclosed that the absence of any restraining order from the SC means the withdrawal of the Philippine government from the ICC could take effect as scheduled.

“The withdrawal from ICC takes effect, without prejudice to the Supreme Court resolving the petitions later on and ruling on the prayer for issuance of writ of mandamus,” the source explained.

Petitioners questioned the withdrawal of the Duterte administration from the government’s ICC membership, alleging that it violated the Constitution that requires ratification of treaties and international agreements by the Senate.

They specifically cited Article VII Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution, which states that “entering into treaty or international agreement requires participation of Congress, that is, through concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.”

But Solicitor General Jose Calida has defended the withdrawal from ICC and asked the SC to dismiss the petitions for lack of merit.

Calida argued that the SC no longer has jurisdiction over the matter after the ICC officially accepted the Philippine government’s withdrawal last year.