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Hontiveros: ‘No hiding from the ICC, Mr. President’

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President Duterte may have unwittingly displayed his fear of being​ ​proven guilty over the​ ​alleged​ ​crimes​ ​in his bloody war on illegal drugs before the International Criminal Court (ICC),​ ​Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday said.

The President’s declaration, she said, only exposed Duterte’s fear of being subjected to international scrutiny and prosecution.

“May I remind Pres. Duterte that even if he declared the country’s withdrawal from the treaty, it will not discharge our country of its obligations while it was still a party to the said agreement, particularly our cooperation with the ICC conducting criminal investigations which were initiated before the said withdrawal,” she said.

Hontiveros maintained that the President can still be held liable for offenses committed while the Philippines was signatory to the ICC, even assuming the withdrawal is lawful — which is not the case as article 127 of The Rome Statute says that a withdrawal is effective only one year after receipt of notification.

“Thus, President Duterte’s declaration of the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute has no effect whatsoever on the ICC’s criminal examination of the complaint filed against him,” she said.

Instead of trying to desperately evade his international obligations and escape accountability for his actions, President should just recognize the ICC processes and accord it due respect, the senator said.

“If the President believes that he is innocent of the charges lodged against him, if the countless extrajudicial killings under his bloody drug war are just the product of our imagination, and if his government’s war against drugs is not abusive and corrupt, he has nothing to fear from the ICC. On the contrary, he should see the ICC process as an opportunity to clear his name and rehabilitate his reputation before the international community.

“There is no hiding from truth, justice and accountability. There is no hiding from the ICC, Mr. President,” Hontiveros said.

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