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SC orders Palace to comment on petition to stop PH’s withdrawal from ICC

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Malacanang has been asked by the Supreme Court (SC) to respond to the appeals of several senators to stop the country’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the treaty which created the International Criminal Court (ICC).

SC spokesperson Theodore Te said on Tuesday (June 5) that the respondents were ordered “to comment within a non-extendible period of ten days from notice.”

Those who have been named as respondents in the petition are Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations Teodoro Locsin Jr, and Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo.

The SC also set the oral arguments for the petition this July 24.

The petition was filed by Senator Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Leila De Lima, Risa Hontiveros and Antonio Trillanes IV.

In their petition, the Senators asked the SC to declare the country’s withdraw as “invalid or ineffective” and compel the Executive Department, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations, to cancel the withdrawal.

“As a treaty validly entered into by the Philippines, the Rome Statute has the same status as an enactment of Congress. In other words, the Rome Statute is a law in the Philippines. As a law, the withdrawal from the Rome Statute requires the participation of Congress,” read the petition.

Citing Article VII, Section 21 of the Constitution, the senators said that adopting a treaty or international agreement “requires participation from Congress, i.e. through a concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate.

“The Executive cannot abrogate or repeal a law. In the same vein, the Executive cannot unilaterally withdraw from a treaty or international agreement because such withdrawal is equivalent to a repeal of law,” they pointed out.

“Under the Constitution, it is only Congress that can repeal a law,” the Senators stressed.

The Senators filed the petition after the United Nations Secretary-General informed the Philippine government of receiving the notification to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

“Given the dangerous consequences of the present case, the Honorable Court has the duty to apply the Constitution by declaring that the withdrawal from the Rome Statute requires the concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate,” the petitioners stated.

“It is incumbent upon the Honorable Court to exercise this constitutional mandate to avoid a situation, now and in the future, where the Executive may upend some of the basic norms of our legal system at his or her own behest,” they added.

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