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Boss si Duterte! Senate can’t stop ICC withdrawal

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By Xave Gregorio

The Senate cannot do anything to stop the Philippines from withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC), as a resolution which should have allowed the upper house of Congress to give its nod to withdrawals from treaties was blocked in March 2017.

“Unfortunately, the Senate has no say in the withdrawal,” Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon said, who filed in February 2017 a resolution which sought the concurrence of the Senate in treaty withdrawals.

The resolution, which initially got the approval of 13 other senators, failed to pass through the chamber as it was blocked by a separate resolution filed by Senator Manny Pacquiao, who viewed the Drilon proposal as unconstitutional, saying the Constitution only requires Senate concurrence in entering into treaties.

With the passage of the Pacquiao resolution, senators only include Senate concurrence to the withdrawal from treaties as individual amendments to international agreements.

The Rome Statute, which created the ICC, does not require Senate concurrence for the Philippines to withdraw. All it needs is a notice that a country will no longer be a party to the treaty.

Senate President Koko Pimentel also said Senate concurrence to treaty withdrawals is not necessary.

“Itong Rome statute ratification way back in year, kay Senator Enrile pa ito na time, walang ganun (provision for Senate concurrence for withdrawal),” Pimentel said.

Only Senator Dick Gordon said Senate concurrence is needed for the Philippines to formally withdraw from the Rome Statute.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Philippines is immediately withdrawing from the Rome Statute Wednesday (March 14) due to “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” from the ICC, currently conducting a preliminary investigation on him and his bloody war on drugs.

A withdrawal from the statute only takes effect one year after a country files notice that it will withdraw its signature.