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Roque to insist on ICC’s non-jurisdiction over PH anti-drug war

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque is set to attend the International Criminal Court (ICC) Assembly of State Parties in New York, USA on December 7, 2017.

He will have the chance to speak before the body of prosecutors and insist that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over the anti-drug war of the government because the courts in the Philippines are still able to investigate on complaints.

It can be recalled that some human rights groups such as the Amnesty International requested the ICC to conduct a preliminary examination of the drug-related killings in the Philippines.

Roque said that if the ICC will violate the principle of complementarity, there is a possibility for the Philippines to withdraw from the Rome Statute of ICC.

“Although the statement has not been finalized, my statement is we agreed to be a member of the ICC because of the principle of complementarity that the court will only exercise jurisdiction if our courts are unwilling or unable to exercise jurisdiction on any crime cognizable by the International Criminal Court. And to violate the principle of complementarity would be to violate the very basis of our consent to be bound by the Rome Statute. And if this will happen, then there may be a possibility that the Philippines, like the three other African states, may withdraw from the Rome Statute of the ICC,” said the presidential spokesperson. — UNTV News & Rescue


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Lawmakers form group to protect human rights

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, March 19th, 2018

Members of MAKATAO or the Mambabatas Para Sa Karapatang Pantao

MANILA, Philippines — Some lawmakers formed themselves into a group to uphold and protect the human rights in the country.

The group was named Mambabatas Para Sa Karapatang Pantao (Makatao).

Its lead convenor, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, said that they are worried about the human rights violations being committed in the country.

“Ang adminstrasyon ay hindi nagbibigay ng sapat na paggalang sa karapatang pantao. Hindi lang pagrespeto pero binabalewala ang karapatang pantao,” he said.

(This administration does not give enough respect to human rights. Not only disrespects but ignores human rights.)

Lagman cited the government’s move of tagging human rights defenders as terrorists and the latest withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The group also vowed to oppose any bill that will violate human rights.

The group’s agenda was welcomed by some of the relatives of those who died during drug operations and riding-in-tandem victims.

“‘ ‘Wag nyo po akong papatayin, may mga anak po ako,’ pero nakarinig po sila ng isang putok. Sa isang putok na po yun, wala na po yung asawa ko,” said the widow of a slain drug suspect, Catherin Bakani, as she recalled her husband’s last words.

(“Don’t shoot me, I have kids,” but people heard a gunshot. With that single shot my husband was gone.)

“Pagka riding-in-tandem,  wala ng tanong. Walang suspect kasi nakatakip ang mukha. Walang plate number. Nasaan ang hustisya doon?” said Naneth Castillo whose child was killed by riding-in-tandem gunmen.

(If it’s a riding-in-tandem killing, no more questions asked. There are no suspects because the faces are covered. No plate numbers. Where is justice there?)

Lagman also wants the United Nation’s (UN) definition of the extrajudicial killings to be adopted wherein those who were killed in the drug operations will be included.

The group hopes that senators and local legislators will join them. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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Pres. Duterte urges state parties to quit ICC

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, March 19th, 2018

In his speech during the graduation of the cadets in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Alab Tala Class of 2018 in Baguio City, President Duterte said he encourages state parties’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

MANILA, Philippines — The International Criminal Court (ICC) responded last Friday and expressed concerns over the withdrawal of the Philippines from the Rome Statute.

In a statement, the President of the Assembly of State Parties O-Gon Kwon said the withdrawal of a state party from the agreement will have a negative effect on the collective effort to fight against impunity.

The Assembly of State Parties is the management oversight and legislative body of the ICC formed by the representatives of the country that ratified the Rome Statute.

O-Gon added, the ICC needs the support of the international community and encouraged the Philippines to remain a member of the Rome Statute.

O-Gon also urged the Philippine government to have a dialogue with the Assembly of State Parties on the issue.

He acknowledged the active participation of the Philippines since the country ratified the agreement last 2011 and last December 2017 and again reiterated the country’s support on the ICC.

“Too late the hero.” This was the response of the Malacañang regarding the issue.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that he already gave a warning in the meeting of the Assembly of State Parties last December 2017 that ICC prosecutors should not let themselves be used by politicians.

Despite criticisms, President Rodrigo Duterte has already decided to withdraw from the agreement of the International Criminal Court. Aside from this,  he is also encouraging other state parties to also withdraw from the Rome Statute.

In his speech during the graduation of Alab Tala Class of 2018 at the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City on Sunday, he stated that the said agreement sponsored by the European Union (EU) has no sense and is disrespectful.

“Ang sinabi ko lang ‘withdraw’ simply because to announce to the world and I will convince everybody now who are under the treaty sa ICC   get out. Get out. Bastos iyan. It is not a document that was prepared by anybody, it’s an EU-sponsored. Itong mga ito pumunta sila Africa, pinagpapatay nila iyong mga Arabs, lahat na, dito yung massacre sa Marawi. It is really an atonement for their sins,” said the President.

(I said, “withdraw” simply because to announce to the world and I will convince everybody now who are under the treaty sa ICC— get out. Get out. They are disrespectful. It is not a document that was prepared by anybody. It’s EU-sponsored.  These people went to Africa and killed the Arabs there; and in the Philippines, the massacre in Marawi. It is really an atonement for their sins.)

The Chief Executive again reiterated that the Rome Statute is not effective despite being ratified in the Senate of the Philippines last 2011, but was not publicized. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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ICC prosecutor undermines credibility of Int’l Criminal Court — Malacañang

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, March 16th, 2018

Malacañang confirmed Philippines withdrawal from International Criminal Court over Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda violation of the principle of complementarity.

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque did not deny feeling sad about the Philippines withdrawal from the Rome Statute or treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC) because he was among those who worked for it to be ratified during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.

However, he agrees with President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to withdraw from the ICC treaty because, according to Roque, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda violated the principle of complementarity and made herself become a political tool against the Philippines.

He added it is also clear that ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines or the President because local courts are still working in the country.

“Wrong political move Madame prosecutor and I am addressing you, wherever you are. You just gave countries confirmation on why they should not become a member of the ICC. Because you have shown that you can exercise your power without accountability. You are to blame if the ICC will become part of history,” said the presidential spokesperson.

Roque also said that the Philippines withdrawal from the ICC treaty will give way to the possible decline of credibility of the ICC and no other country will be encouraged to ratify the Rome Statute.

“Remember, the Philippines’ withdrawal from ICC treaty has a great impact being not only in Asia but as well as in other parts of the world,” said the official.

Roque added that the statement of United Nations (UN) human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein against the Philippine president is a great deciding factor for the government.

“With the statement, the President is convinced that there must be some kind of a conspiracy on the part of pressure groups and UN officials to shame him,” said Roque.

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman and Vice President Leni Robredo believe the international community may lose trust in the Philippines.

“The international community will lose trust in the Philippines because a country which does not honor its commitments does not deserve the trust of other states,” said Lagman.

Robredo echoed the same sentiments saying, “Ano ba iyong implikasyon ng pag-alis natin, pag-withdraw? Iyong international perception sa ating bansa apektado. Pangalawa, nagiging questionable na iyong commitment natin sa international agreements. Pangatlo, ano ba iyong gusting sabihin nito pagdating sa human rights? Ayaw na ba natin mangako na ia-uphold natin ito.”

(What will be the implication of our withdrawal? The international perception on the country is affected. Secondly, our commitment to international agreements has become questionable. Thirdly, what does it say about human rights? Are we not anymore willing to promise to uphold it?)

These statements were abruptly rebutted by Malacañang.

“America is not a member of ICC. Does it have an effect on the image of America? None. Russia, also not a member of ICC. Does it have an effect? China, is there an effect? Again, there are 198 countries on this planet,” said the presidential spokesperson. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue



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