POLITICS-DRUG WAR-ICC: MANILA – Trillanes insists ICC withdrawal requires Senate approval

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV has insisted that President Duterte’s withdrawal of the country’s ratification on the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court (ICC) was void because it lacked the concurrence of the Senate

In a privilege speech delivered yesterday, Trillanes argued that in the same way that treaties are sent to the Senate for concurrence after ratification by a president, its withdrawal must also go through the same process to be considered effective.

“For as long as the senators, or two-thirds of the total number of senators, have (not) concurred (with) the withdrawal, such withdrawal of Mr. Duterte in the ICC is void from the start,” Trillanes said.

After delivering the speech, Trillanes was interpellated by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, who asked him for basis in coming up with that conclusion.

Trillanes cited the constitutional provision about how the ratification of treaties require the concurrence of two-thirds of all senators and that, by implication, the concurrence of the same number of senators is needed to withdraw, if only to remove the arbitrariness of any single branch of government.

But Pimentel said it is dangerous to assume on matters where the Constitution is silent, adding that any interpretation on this silence would be erroneous.

In his speech, Trillanes challenged the argument of Malacañang that the Rome Statute could not be considered effective because its ratification was not published either in the newspapers or the Official Gazette.

He cited Executive Order 459, issued by former president Fidel Ramos in 1997, which does mention a publication as requirement before a treaty can be considered effective.

“Upon receipt of the concurrence by the Senate, the Department of Foreign Affairs shall comply with the provision of the treaties in effecting their entry into force,” Trillanes said, quoting the EO.

At Malacañang, President Duterte said the ICC could not prosecute him if he cannot be held accountable for the crimes attributed to him locally.

“If you cannot prosecute me locally, how can you prosecute me internationally?” he said during a gathering of his supporters in Pasay City last Wednesday night.

Duterte and his chief presidential legal adviser Salvador Panelo agree that the Rome Statute’s ratification in the country lacked the requirement of publication to make it applicable to the Philippines.

“If you cannot charge me locally because you never published the law, how can you bind me internationally? I cannot be detained here, but outside you keep hitting me… because the treaties, when ratified, shall form part of the law of the land,” the President said.

He expects nothing substantial would come out of the ICC intervention in the country as it could not pin him down on the drug-related killings and alleged human rights violations.

He said the investigations by former UN special rapporteur Philip Alston and then Commission on Human Rights (CHR) head Leila de Lima in the past did not prosper due to lack of evidence and that the only development was his former accuser, De Lima, is now a senator detained at Camp Crame.

De Lima was jailed for allegedly receiving bribe money from drug lords at the national penitentiary for her senatorial campaign.

Duterte then repeatedly criticized US special rapporteur Agnes Callamard and ICC special prosecutor Fatou Bensouda for launching what he described as a demolition job against him.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the ICC cannot count on any cooperation from the Philippine government over the issue.  – Christina Mendez / Marvin Sy  (The Philippine Star) – March 23, 2018 – 12:00am / / All photographs, news, editorials, opinions, information, data, others have been taken from the Internet ..aseanews.net | [email protected] / For comments, Email to : Aseanews.Net | [email protected] | Contributor:-

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