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Roque insists PH can withdraw from ICC without Senate approval

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President Rodrigo R. Duterte does not need the approval of the Senate to withdraw the Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute, a United Nations (UN) treaty creating the International Criminal Court (ICC), his spokesman maintained Wednesday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made this remark after the Philippine Coalition for the ICC (PCICC) filed a petition before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the notice of withdrawal.

The Philippine Coalition for the ICC is the group which pushed for the membership of the Philippines in the ICC.

According to the coalition, the withdrawal violated the Constitution which requires the concurrence of at least two-thirds of the 24-member Senate.

“We reiterate that the President is the chief architect of the country’s foreign policy,” Roque said in a press statement.

“The Constitution makes no mention that concurrence of the Senate is necessary to validate the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC),” he added.

Roque reiterated that the issue cannot be addressed by a certiorari but rather the courts must defer matters on foreign affairs to the Executive.

This is the second time a petition was filed to declare the country’s withdrawal from the ICC as “invalid or “ineffective.”

The first petition was signed by opposition Senators Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, and Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV last May.

The senators pointed out that the withdrawal came after the international tribunal opened a preliminary examination into the alleged extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration.

Last March, Duterte declared that the Philippines will be withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute citing “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and his administration as a reason to leave as a state party.

Duterte also cited the “concerted effort of UN special rapporteurs” to paint him as a “ruthless and heartless” violator of human rights for allowing alleged extrajudicial killings in the country.

He stressed that the ICC has no jurisdiction over him as international laws are “not effective nor enforceable in the Philippines.”

According to Duterte, a law shall become effective only upon its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation but since the Rome Statute is devoid of the legal required publication, it is “ineffective and unenforceable.” (PNA)