By Rey Panaligan
Six opposition senators asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday to nullify President Duterte’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On March 14, 2018, the President announced the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC citing “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and his administration.
The petitioners – Sens. Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Paolo Benigno Aquino, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV – told the SC the President’s withdrawal from the ICC is invalid as it has no concurrence from at least two-thirds of the 24-member Senate.
They wanted the SC to compel the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations to notify the United Nations Secretary-General of the revocation of the notice of withdrawal from the ICC it received on March 17, 2018.
They said the Rome Statute ICC was validly entered into by the Philippine government and has the same status as a law enacted by Congress and, thus, the withdrawal must need the approval of Congress.
“The Executive cannot abrogate or repeal a law. In the same vein, the Executive cannot unilaterally withdraw from a treaty or international agreement because such withdrawal is equivalent to a repeal of a law,” they said.
The withdrawal from the ICC is a usurpation of legislative powers which is punishable under the Revised Penal Code, they said.
“Given that the instrument of withdrawal received by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on March 17, 2018 is inconsistent with the Philippine Constitution, the Honorable Court must order the Executive Department to carry out its cancellation, revocation or withdrawal, similar to the case of South Africa,” the six senators said in their petition.
“This is necessary to implement the constitutional requirement that a treaty withdrawal needs the concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate,” they said.
Read more: PH withdraws from ICC