Remulla now keen on studying House, SC records on ICC jurisdiction

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla

FILE PHOTO: Department of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Wednesday cited a need to review jurisprudence concerning the International Criminal Court (ICC), particularly on the matter of jurisdiction.

Remulla made the statement amid renewed calls by some lawmakers for the government to let the tribunal conduct its probe into the bloody drug war of the Duterte administration.

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Remulla said there was a need to study the records of the House of Representatives with regard to ICC jurisdictional issues.

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“We need to get a transmittal from Congress on this matter, on the details of what happened, and the resolution on what happened in the committee before this was released,” he told reporters in a briefing.

“This is important… I know that this has basis. This came from somewhere. This must have been drawn from something. We need to see the discussion that took place.”

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Remulla also cited the Supreme Court decision on Cayetano v. Pangilinan, where it ruled that “withdrawing from the Rome Statute does not discharge a state party from the obligations it has incurred as a member.”

‘Very interesting’

“We need to really look into this before we address the situation… This is very interesting. We’ll study if it’s clearly a law or not,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino, adding that some “gray areas” might also have to be studied.

Last week, members of the Makabayan bloc at the House called on the Marcos administration to support the ICC probe, in which former President Rodrigo Duterte is being accused of committing crimes against humanity with thousands of deaths, questionable police operations, and alleged human rights abuses committed in pursuit of his six-year anti-drug campaign.

Remulla’s latest remarks appeared to have departed from his previous position regarding the ICC investigation.

He repeatedly maintained in the past that the Philippine government would no longer cooperate with the ICC, even warning its investigators that they would be cited for “usurpation of authority” under Philippine law should they enter the country.

Stance not changed

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra have also opposed continued engagement with the ICC after it denied Manila’s appeal on the resumption of the ICC prosecutor’s investigation.

Still, Remulla maintained on Wednesday that the government’s stance against the ICC probe had not changed.

“Nothing has changed because we need to really look into this because this involves international law. This involves constitutional law, and our courts… our laws are involved in this. We just need to be careful,” he said.

“If your country has a working justice system, why would you let other people decide for your country?”



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Asked if the government’s position might now change, Remulla said: “We cannot say that there is no chance because the law can change. We are talking about the law.”

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