In a recent statement, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla emphasized that any presence of international bodies within the Philippine government’s jurisdiction must adhere to the country’s Constitution and relevant laws. Remulla’s remarks come in response to reports that investigators from the International Criminal Court (ICC) had entered the country without prior approval and were gathering information for a potential case against former president Rodrigo Duterte and other individuals connected to the previous administration’s drug war.
According to Remulla, it is essential for foreign entities to obtain consent and approval from relevant government agencies, such as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Justice (DoJ), before conducting official activities within Philippine territory. He highlighted that the Philippines formally severed ties with the ICC on March 17, 2019, and therefore, the government has no legal obligation to comply with any obligations or proceedings initiated by the intergovernmental organization and international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands.
“As a sovereign nation with a robust and functional justice system capable of addressing internal issues without external interference, the Philippine government has demonstrated its readiness, willingness, and ability to investigate and prosecute any crimes committed within its territory,” Remulla affirmed.
The Justice Secretary also clarified that the DoJ has not received any official communication or confirmation regarding the presence of the ICC within the country. Additionally, there has been no advisory from the DFA indicating that the ICC has indeed entered the Philippines. Remulla emphasized that interdepartmental coordination is necessary when developments directly impact the nation’s sovereignty and the primacy of its Constitution and laws.
Remulla acknowledged the Supreme Court’s ruling on crimes allegedly committed before the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC. However, he noted that the ruling was merely an incidental expression of opinion and does not establish precedent. The DoJ remains committed to upholding the principles of justice, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights, regardless of color, race, beliefs, or creed. These values continue to be the cornerstone of the DoJ’s mandate.
“Gumagana ang sistema natin. Hindi namin papabayaan ang mga biktima. Ipagtatanggol natin ang karapatan ng bawat Pilipino,” Remulla asserted. (Our system works. We will not neglect the victims. We will defend the rights of every Filipino.)
In summary, Justice Secretary Remulla’s statement underscores the Philippine government’s position on the presence of international bodies within its jurisdiction. The government maintains that any activities conducted by foreign entities must comply with the country’s Constitution and relevant laws, and prior consent and approval from appropriate government agencies are necessary. With a robust justice system capable of addressing internal issues, the Philippines asserts its readiness to investigate and prosecute crimes committed within its territory. The Department of Justice remains committed to upholding justice, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights, ensuring the rights of every Filipino are defended.
Source: The Manila Times