Appeal to ICC, a colossal mistake

We are rejecting ICC’s acquiring jurisdiction over us but we are in the same breath subjecting ourselves to its jurisdiction by formally filing our appeal to it!

The government, through the Office of the Solicitor General, has officially documented its palpable, thoughtless, and grave error by filing its appeal with the International Criminal Court to suspend its investigation into the alleged commission of crimes against humanity during the incumbency of citizen Rodrigo Roa Duterte as Mayor of Davao City and President of the Republic of the Philippines, until its appeal is resolved.

By doing so, the government is in effect allowing the investigation to commence and not stopping it. It is another way of saying to ICC: “You can start your investigation in our country after you have resolved our appeal. In the meantime please suspend the inquiry.”

In other words, we are permitting the ICC to acquire jurisdiction over us after resolving our appeal, but not commencing the investigation before it resolves our appeal. What kind of nonsensical contradicting position is that? We are rejecting ICC’s acquiring jurisdiction over us but we are in the same breath subjecting ourselves to its jurisdiction by formally filing our appeal to it! Such trumpery!

The government’s lawyer, the OSG, is doing this balderdash move twice. The first time was when the ICC granted the request of its Special Prosecutor to start investigating the Philippines on the alleged commission of crimes against humanity. Immediately, the OSG filed a request to suspend the investigation because accordingly, it wanted to submit records and documents to the ICC showing that we are prosecuting those who are committing the aforesaid crime.

Again, as this columnist has postulated: Why are we proving that we can prosecute the offenders of the said crimes and are interested in prosecuting them? It is the ICC claiming that the principle of complementarity does not apply to us. It has concluded that our country does not have the capacity nor the genuine interest to prosecute the violators. Having effectively accused us of disinterest and impotence in going after the suspected criminals, the burden of proving the truthfulness of that claim rests upon the ICC, absolutely not on us.

As expected, the initial request to the ICC to defer its investigation was denied. The second fatal mistake of the OSG was to appeal the ICC’s denial of our aforesaid government’s request. Instead of correcting the said error, the OSG aggravated it by making it more pronounced. Instead of requesting a suspension of the proceeding that the ICC intended to undertake, and appealing for a reconsideration of the denial of such request, the government should have been steadfast and iron-willed in its position that the ICC has no jurisdiction and slammed its repeated attempts to place our country under its jurisdiction as undue interference in our domestic affairs.

For the ICC to place us under its jurisdiction is to violate our Constitution which commands that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, and before such person is divested of such right, due process must be accorded him, in that he must be informed of the nature of the accusation against him which violates the law. The law violated must be known to him, and such knowledge can ripen only and bind him if the transgressed law is published in the Official Gazette, absent of which, there can no law being violated.

As stated many times over in this column, the Rome Statute, the law creating the International Criminal Court, never saw the light of day because it was never published in the Official Gazette, hence it is unenforceable, with the consequence of ICC never having acquired jurisdiction over the Philippines.

Even assuming that it initially acquired jurisdiction, the country’s formal withdrawal of its membership, which had become effective, divested ICC of any jurisdiction over our country. No amount of legal mumbo jumbo by the ICC can give itself jurisdiction over us.

The government cannot lend its hand to legitimizing the contradictory and unpardonable booboos of its agents to make us look like a dunderhead state by proceeding with that repugnant appeal.

It has to assert its independence. It has to be consistent with its stand that ICC never acquired jurisdiction under whatever circumstances. Its continued insistence and insolence in placing us under its control is a brazen continuing assault on our sovereignty and territorial integrity and must end. It has to warn the ICC that it will not further countenance incursions into our internal affairs, and the same will be met strongly and fiercely with punitive actions against its representatives or whoever acting under its orders, and undertaking actions repugnant to our national interest and in derogation of our nationhood.

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