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VP Leni raises concerns on PH’s ICC withdrawal, points to loss of ‘safety net’ vs. abuses

Office of the Vice President
15 March 2018

BUHI, CAMARINES SUR – Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday raised concerns over President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration that the Philippines will withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

VP Leni said such move is alarming since the country’s membership in the ICC serves as a “safety net” should local institutions prove unwilling or unable to address grave violations of human rights, and serious crimes that fall within the purview of the ICC.
“[I]yong pagiging signatory natin sa ICC, parang safety net natin na kung iyong mga opisyal natin hindi inaaksyunan iyong mga pang-aabuso sa loob [ng bansa], mayroon tayong madudulugan,” she said. “Delikado ito sa future generations kasi paano kung nagiging mapang-abuso iyong nakaupo? Wala na tayong malalapitan,” she said.
The Vice President noted the contributions of Filipino diplomats and experts—among them the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago—in putting up the ICC and going through the long, hard road taken in the Philippines to ratify the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the body. She also underscored the significance of inclusion in the said body in our standing as a nation that values human rights and the rule of law.
“[P]arang shining moment iyon kasi 11 years bago ito na-ratify sa Senado… Nagpapakita ito na isa tayo sa nagpapahalaga sa human rights,” she said. “Ano ba iyong implikasyon ng pag-alis natin, pag-withdraw? … Iyong international perception sa ating bansa apektado. Pangalawa, nagiging questionable na iyong commitment natin sa international agreements. Pangatlo, ano ba iyong gustong sabihin nito pagdating sa human rights? Ayaw na ba natin mangako na i-a-uphold natin ito?”
VP Leni also said she is saddened by the timing of the President’s declaration, which came after the ICC announced that a preliminary probe is in place over the administration’s war against drugs.
Moreover, she noted that that the process of withdrawal from the international body will not affect such, since the Philippines will have to give a year’s notice for the move, and backing out of the treaty needs the concurrence of the Senate—a position taken by 14 senators who sponsored a resolution on this matter in 2017.
“Parang iyong implikasyon, dahil iimbestigahan, aalis tayo. Marami iyong implications nito. Gusto bang sabihin natatakot tayo sa imbestigasyon?” she said. “Iyong epekto kasi nito hindi lang sa present na set-up, pero iyong implikasyon nito pati sa mga susunod.”
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