LEADERS of the House Committee on Human Rights said on Sunday that allowing the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate will not jeopardize national sovereignty but rather will signify transparency and benefit the Philippine government, even as the government continues to consider the possibility of re-entering the ICC and the lower house will continue to hear resolutions for ICC entry into the country.
House Committee on Human Rights Chairman Bienvenido M. Abante Jr. believes that allowing the ICC entry into the country only shows transparency and will do good for our government.
Abante also emphasized the intention to showcase the effective functioning of the justice system within the country.
“By allowing the ICC to come, it’s telling the world that we have nothing to hide here,” Abante stated.
However, the lawmaker clarified that the ICC cannot conduct prosecutions in the country.
“They can come in and investigate and even ask questions to the families of the victims, but they cannot prosecute here,” Abante said.
Last Friday, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said the government is now studying the possibility of rejoining the ICC.
For his part, Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman argues that letting the ICC in is not a surrender of sovereignty but an exercise of it.
“If we believe in the rule of law, then we must let the ICC come in,” Lagman noted.
The lawmaker said that allowing the ICC to investigate does not compromise national sovereignty.
The Philippines withdrew its ICC membership in 2017 following an investigation into alleged “crimes against humanity” related to casualties in the government’s war on drugs, as ordered by then-President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Lagman filed House Resolution 1482, while Abante and 1-Rider Partylist Rep. Ramon Rodrigo L. Gutierrez filed House Resolution 1477, both aiming to allow the ICC entry into the country.
In a recent ambush interview, Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez acknowledged that the government is currently studying the option of rejoining the ICC, signaling a nuanced approach to international relations.
“We will take it as is. We will follow, we will follow the policies,” he stated, suggesting a commitment to align with international standards and agreements.
The Speaker also highlighted that the sentiments expressed represent the views of some congressmen, emphasizing that the decision-making process involves a collective effort.
“But what you heard is just the sense of some of the congressmen. We will still deliberate on house resolutions on that,” he added.