SolGen: PHL not obliged to cooperate with ICC on probe on drug war

MANILA – State lawyers reiterated that the government is not obligated to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) despite calls to the contrary by some lawmakers.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra explained that the resolutions by lawmakers encouraging the government to cooperate with the ICC are mere expressions of sentiments.

“Non-cooperation with the ICC prosecutor and rejoining the ICC are two different things. The government has no legal duty to cooperate with the ICC prosecutor in his investigation of the drug war because the ICC can no longer exercise its jurisdiction after the effectivity of the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC in 2019,” Guevarra said.

He pointed out that the ICC prosecutor was authorized to investigate only in 2021.

“The House (of Representatives) resolutions encouraging the government to cooperate, if adopted, are a non-binding expression of their sentiment only. On the other hand, rejoining the ICC is a policy decision that will involve both the executive and legislative departments. This matter needs a very serious study because many factors and competing interests need to be considered,” he added.

The SolGen’s position was echoed by Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson Mico Clavano following statements allegedly made by Vice President Sara Duterte for the DOJ to take a stand on the resumption of ICC’s investigation.

Duterte’s father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, is the target of a supposed ICC investigation.

Clavano said the administration has not gone back on its previous stance rejecting participation in the probe.