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Palace optimistic SC will dismiss senators’ petition to nullify ICC withdrawal

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By Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang is optimistic that the Supreme Court will dismiss a petition filed by opposition senators seeking to stop the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque argued that the senators’ petition lacks legal basis, adding the court would “always defer to the executive on matters of foreign affairs.”

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque
(TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Good luck to them. I don’t think there is no legal basis,” Roque said in an interview with reporters at the Palace.

“The President remains the chief architect of foreign policy. This is not a matter that can be cured by certiorari,” he added.

Roque, a lawyer, said he previously filed before the Supreme Court a number of petitions related to foreign affairs, which were all dismissed. “Palagi sinasabi ng Korte Suprema [The Supreme Court always says] the executive remains the chief architect of foreign policy and cannot be subject of certiorari,” he said.

The opposition senators, in a petition filed before the SC Wednesday, claimed that Duterte’s pullout from the Rome Statute was invalid or ineffective due to the lack of concurrence of the Senate. They asked the court to compel the executive department to cancel the instrument of withdrawal sent to the United Nations secretary general last March.

Roque, however, maintained that the President’s decision on the country’s pullout from the ICC does not require the consent of the Senate.

“Ang requirement lang po [The requirement] is when a treaty can become valid as part of the laws of the land and that is Senate concurrence. Wala pong requirement na tayo’y lalabas sa tratado [There is no requirement when we withdraw from a treaty],” he said.

In March, the President declared the country’s withdrawal from the ICC over violation of due process, constitutional presumption of innocence, among others. He said the Rome Statute, ratified by the Senate in 2011, was not enforceable in the country since it was not published in the Official Gazette, a legal requirement before a law takes effect.

Duterte’s decision came after the ICC opened a preliminary probe into the alleged crimes against humanity committed in the President’s war on illegal drugs.

The ICC recently announced that it would continue with its preliminary examination into the alleged crimes linked to Duterte’s brutal drug war despite the Philippines’ pullout from the Rome Statute.

Read more: 6 senators ask High Court to nullify ICC withdrawal

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