Senator Jinggoy Estrada has filed a resolution strongly opposing the continuation of the investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the alleged crimes against humanity that happened during the implementation of the war on drugs campaign under the administration of former President Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte.
In Senate Resolution No. 492, Estrada said that the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision of the ICC to allow the continuation of the investigation is a violation of the sovereignty of the Philippines and challenges the capacity of the judicial system in the country.
Senator Robin Padilla had also filed a resolution to defend Duterte in the investigation and prosecution of the ICC. In the House of Representatives, former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, along with 18 other congressmen, filed a resolution to support Duterte.
The ICC has initiated a preliminary examination on the drug war campaign of Duterte’s administration in 2018. In March 2020, the ICC prosecutor’s office announced that there was “reasonable basis to believe” that crimes against humanity were committed during the anti-drug campaign in the Philippines. However, the Philippine government has repeatedly denied any allegations of human rights violations and claimed that the drug war was carried out with respect for the rule of law.
The decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC to continue the investigation has caused reactions from both Duterte’s supporters and critics. Duterte’s supporters argue that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines and that the investigation is a political move to undermine Duterte’s administration. Critics, on the other hand, welcome the ICC investigation and view it as an opportunity for justice for the thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
The ICC is an international tribunal that investigates and prosecutes individuals for the most serious crimes of international concern, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The Philippines is a state party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, but Duterte withdrew the Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute in 2019.
As the debate continues, it remains to be seen how the ICC investigation will proceed and how the Philippine government will respond to it.