Malacanang on Tuesday reiterated its previous stance that the International Criminal Court (ICC) does not have jurisdiction over the country’s domestic affairs.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo warned that if ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda insists on entering the country to do an investigation, then she will be subjected to deportation as she will be violating Philippine sovereignty.
Bensouda on Monday declared that the ICC is unfazed over the Philippines’ supposed withdrawal from the Hague-based tribunal and maintained they will still proceed with their investigation.
“[W]ith respect to ICC personnel who will come here and violate our sovereignty then they will be subjected to deportation,” Secretary Panelo said.
“[T]hey do not have jurisdiction over us from the very start. More so, (since) we have withdrawn, then what basis do they have to continue?” Sec. Panelo added.
“The Rome Statute says when there is a preliminary investigation and or proceeding relative thereto then the ICC can proceed,” Secretary Panelo explained, adding that there was no preliminary investigation but only a preliminary examination.
The Palace official likewise disagreed with the statement of Assembly of State Parties of the ICC President O-Gon Kwon that the ICC is an effective way to promote accountability among the heads of state.
“I disagree. We have already pointed out that in this country we have a judicial system which is robust and functional and very effective,” he said, citing three incidents where former Philippine Presidents were made accountable with their actions.
Secretary Panelo also maintained that the ICC’s agenda is to politically persecute heads of state as posited by powerful countries like the United States, China, Russia, to name a few.
“I do not think so. Even other powerful countries share the same sentiment that ICC has weaponized human rights in the fight against drugs,” he said.
“It has been politically persecuting heads of state. And I think what this prosecutor is doing validates the accusation,” he added.
Secretary Panelo, in the meantime, argued that the Philippines has a robust judicial system, which can prosecute crimes locally.
“Anybody can file any complaint against any incumbent official. Even this President after he steps down from office, if he indeed violated any provision of law, he will be accountable,” he said.