Former solon to represent minority senators in ICC oral arguments

MANILA Former Akbayan party-list Rep. Barry Gutierrez will represent the opposition senators in the oral arguments on the petition seeking to invalidate the Philippine government's withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) before the Supreme Court (SC) next week.

Former Akbayan party-list Rep. Barry Gutierrez formally enters appearance as counsel for petitioner-senators in the case they filed before the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the Philippines' withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Senator Francis Pangilinan said in a statement issued to the media on Thursday.

Aside from Pangilinan, other named petitioners include senators Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Leila de Lima.

During last Tuesday's oral arguments, Anna Marie Corominas, representing the petitioners, has made a manifestation that the six senators have yet to decide about their representation in the proceedings.

De Lima, detained for drug raps, was supposed to argue on behalf of the senators but her request was denied by the SC.

De Lima, as well as the other minority senators, filed separate motions for reconsideration which were also denied by the High Court.

Corominas asked the High Court that the senators be allowed to participate in next week's session.

Newly-appointed Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, who presided over the oral arguments, said the Court notes their manifestation and it will issue a resolution on the petitioners' request.

Apart from the senators' petition, a similar petition was also filed by the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court, former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales, and several others.

The oral arguments will resume next Tuesday, September 4, with the government to be represented by the Office of the Solicitor General.

On March 14, President Rodrigo R. Duterte announced the Philippines' withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute, a United Nations treaty creating the ICC.

The Philippines signed the statute on Dec. 28, 2000, and ratified it on August 30, 2011.

The Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations wrote UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on March 15 to formally notify the body of the country's withdrawal as a principled stand against those who politicize and weaponize human rights, even as its independent and well-functioning organs and agencies continue to exercise jurisdiction over complaints, issues, problems and concerns arising from its efforts to protect its people. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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