PRRD ‘not afraid’ of ICC probe: Panelo

MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte is not afraid of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said.

Definitely hindi (not), Panelo said Wednesday when asked by reporters if Duterte decided to withdraw the Philippines' ratification of the Rome Statute, a United Nations (UN) treaty creating the ICC, because he was afraid of being tried before the international court.

In a three-page statement, Duterte cited various reasons for withdrawing the ratification of the Rome Statute, including baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks against him and his administration.

Given the baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person, as well as against my administration, engineered by the officials of the United Nations, as well as the attempt by the International Criminal Court special prosecutor to place my person within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, in violation of due process and the presumption of innocence expressly guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and recognized no less by the Rome Stature, I therefore declare and forthwith give notice, as President of the Republic of the Philippines, that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately, Duterte said in a statement.

Panelo claimed that the decision of the ICC to conduct a preliminary examination on Duterte was already a violation of due process since it should not be published.

Preliminary examination alone, it is already a violation of due process kasi dapat 'yon hindi pina-publish (since that shouldn't be published). Because before the court assumes jurisdiction, they have to determine one, whether it has jurisdiction over the subject matter, Panelo told reporters in an interview.

By announcing prematurely the preliminary examination being conducted by the special prosecutor, it is as if he's going to be charged with all the crimes, he added.

Not enforceable

Panelo also stressed that the Rome Statute is not enforceable in the Philippines since it was never published in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

There is a Rome Statute but it is not enforceable in this country. It may be enforceable if they follow what our own law says but since they have not, so it's not enforceable. We are in effect telling them na hindi na kami interesado dyan, alis na kami dyan (we're not interested in that, we won't be a part of that), Panelo said.

He said that upon entering the statute, there is an assumption that the ICC will be observing the Philippine Constitution, the requirement of due process, the presumption of innocence, the requirement of due process, the requirement of publication, but they were not.

Ang feeling ni Presidente, naloko lang pala kami. Hindi mo nire-respect ang aming Saligang Batas (The President feels we were tricked. They do not respect our Constitution), he added.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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