Palace rebuffs International Criminal Court

March 11, 2019
Salvador Panelo

THE International Criminal Court (ICC) would be violating its own provisions if it would launch an investigation into President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo maintained that the Philippines was never part of the ICC.
“Let me restate our position on the matter. One, we said we didn’t even withdraw, we said from the very beginning we were not under its jurisdiction,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.  In March 2018, Duterte declared the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC.

In its letter to the ICC, the Philippines said its decision to withdraw was a “principled stand against those who politicize and weaponize human rights.”

“That letter was only to inform them as a matter of courtesy that, excuse us, we have not been under your jurisdiction from the very start,” Panelo said.

Duterte had argued that the treaty, which the Philippines signed on August 23, 2011, was neither “effective nor enforceable” in the country because it was not published in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

In a CNN Philippines interview, lawyer Jude Sabio, who filed a 77-page document on killings against Duterte, said it was “possible that the ICC will decide to open an investigation” before March 17, when the country’s withdrawal from the ICC takes effect.