In a significant move, the House of Representatives in the Philippines has unanimously adopted three resolutions related to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The adoption, a product of exhaustive deliberations lasting over four hours, signifies an intention to work in concert with the Senate on matters pertaining to the ICC. The move comes amidst a backdrop of discussions and potential actions involving the Philippines and the ICC.
Resolution Adoption and Ongoing Deliberations
The House committees on justice and human rights adopted the resolutions, urging government cooperation with the ICC investigation into the controversial war on drugs under former President Rodrigo Duterte. Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman successfully prompted the panels to consider coordinating with Sen. Risa Hontiveros, author of a similar resolution in the Senate. The objective is to express the collective sentiment of Congress through a concurrent resolution, which doesn't necessitate the President's signature or carry the force of law.
Implications of the House's Actions
With these resolutions, the House aligns its efforts with the Senate to ensure a unified approach towards the country's interactions with the ICC. This could potentially address issues such as the country's previous withdrawal from the court or compliance with international legal obligations. The move doesn't necessarily indicate a decision on rejoining the ICC, nor does it reflect on the country's justice system, as clarified by Lagman and House Committee on Human Rights chair Bienvenido Abante.
Further Details and Reactions
The two committees adopted House Resolution (HR) No. 1477, urging the Philippine government to cooperate with the ICC's investigation into the country's brutal war on drugs. The resolution, authored by Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. and 1-Rider Rep. Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez, consolidates with HR No. 1393 and HR No. 1482. Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra conceded that the final decision of cooperation with the ICC rests with President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. He maintained, however, that the ICC has no jurisdiction to probe the Philippines' war on drugs, as its pre-trial chamber only sanctioned it after the country's withdrawal from the ICC in March 2019.