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Villanueva urges Duterte to reconsider PH pullout from ICC

Published
By Hannah L. Torregoza
 
Senator Joel Villanueva on Wednesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his decision to pull out the Philippines from the ratification of the Rome Statute.

Senator Joel Villanueva gestures during the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development hearing on the deaths of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), February 21,2018.(Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN)

(Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN)

 
Villanueva made the call after Duterte announced the Philippines is withdrawing from the treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he is now facing charges over allegations of crime against humanity due to his government’s brutal war on drugs.
 
The senator said the President should submit himself to due process as his decision would send out a wrong signal to the international community.
 
“Confirmed na ba talaga? Sa akin dyan I would advise the President to reconsider and face the process of the ICC,” Villanueva said when sought to comment on the issue.
 
“It sends a wrong message to the international community on the political state of the country eh,” he said.
 
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, for his part, agreed that the President’s announcement does not automatically release the President from the preliminary investigation of the ICC.
 
“Sa pagkakaalam ko, they can continue. Let us say a person who has an arrest warrant from the ICC is found in a state signatory or member of the ICC. Then they are duty-bound to arrest that person. Ganun lang yun,” Pimentel said.
 
“Sa Pilipinas kunwari out na tayo, meron silang gustong ipaaresto sa atin. Hindi tayo magpa-participate kasi out na tayo. Yun lang yun,” he explained.
 
But Pimentel said he understands where the President is coming from and why he decided that the Philippines withdraws from the treaty.
 
“In effect ang sinasabi ng Pilipina,s we don’t want to have anything to do with you kasi may abuse of discretion kayo eh.
If I were President, baka ginawa ko rin yun,” the Senate leader said.
 
Pimentel pointed out that Duterte won the mandate of the people in the May 2016 elections precisely because of his promise to address the problem on law and order, particularly illegal drugs.
 
“Isn’t this domestic policy? This is law enforcement. In the eyes of the President, when he was campaigning, the main problem is law and order. What was the root cause of the deterioration? In his view, it was drugs. It was validated by the people. He won the election. He will now enforce the law. May law and yet nakikialam sila (and yet they are meddling),” the Senate chief pointed out.
 
“They’re trying to micromanage the country eh sumusobra na. I can see his point of view,” Pimentel explained.
 
Nevertheless, he said, he does not believe Duterte will be arrested by the ICC.
 
“Ang prediction ko, dito hindi tayo aabot sa arrest warrant walang kwenta yung kaso,” he pointed out.
 
But he agrees that the Philippines stands to lose solidarity with other member nations that are putting premium on an orderly criminal justice system at the international level.
 
“Yun lang mawawala sa atin. We will not feel that we belong to these countries which are desirous of an orderly administration of criminal justice at the international level. Yun ang kulang eh. Wala kasing legal system at the international level,” Pimentel said.

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