By Herbert Vego
WE better watch out; we better not cry; ICC is coming to town.
It’s hard to predict when, but my viewfinder shows representatives of the International Criminal Court (ICC) coming to Manila to probe extra-judicial killings allegedly committed by former President Rodrigo Duterte and his cohort.
This likelihood is shaping up with the attention given to the long-pending resolution at the House of Representatives in favor of the ICC investigation of Duterte’s bloody drug war that had killed thousands of tagged “pushers and users”. Why?
According to Deputy Minority Leader Rep. France Castro (ACT party-list), it’s because of the sudden positive reaction of the majority of the congressmen to the resolution (House Resolution 1393) that she and other members of the Makabayan bloc had prepared and lobbied for. Until recently, the House was not keen on approving the resolution.
A resolution that expresses the position, opinion, or intent of the House on an issue does not have the force of law. But it serves as a formal declaration of the House’s stance.
“Justice for the victims of the extra-judicial killings” has been a battle cry that has resonated unattended to in six years of the Duterte administration. Now is the time for action, if only to nip in the bud the rise of another unscrupulous regime.
For Duterte, it could be his chance to prove the whole world his “innocence,” assuming he really is. Why would he be “allergic” to the ICC if that were so?
Alas, his opposition to “foreign intervention” would not be a valid excuse, since that is the only way to ferret out the truth that our own judicial system has glossed over.
According to the credible Vera Files, the names of former president Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Sara Duterte and two incumbent senators appear in the documents submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Netherlands for investigation of crimes against humanity dating back to the years when the elder Duterte was mayor of Davao City.
It would not be far-fetched for Speaker Martin Romualdez to convince his cousin, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., to welcome the ICC probe, assuming that, as rumored, he and VP Sara aspire to clash for the presidency in 2028.
Marcos himself must have braced himself against issues being raised against his administration in the mainstream and on-line media. Some of these critics with aliases – say, Maharlika, Banat By and Sass – are known “friends” of VP Sara who attack him over issues ranging from appointments of “corrupt Cabinet officials” to the proliferation of allies engaged in importation and smuggling of agricultural products.
I heard on TV Rep. Neri Colmenares express optimism that the House resolution urging the Marcos administration to welcome the ICC probe would push through because they themselves (the congressmen) had been “insulted” by the former president.
Duterte named the House of Representatives “the most corrupt government institution” after the latter had sought to eliminate confidential and intelligence funds for the Office of the Vice President in the 2024 budget.
It would not be correct to say that ICC has lost jurisdiction over Duterte just because the latter had unilaterally withdrawn our country’s membership to the ICC effective March 17, 2019.
The Philippines is still obliged to cooperate in criminal proceedings of the ICC even if it has withdrawn from the ICC. No less than our Supreme Court ruled in an en banc 15-0 decision (G.R. No. 238875) dated March 16, 2021:
“The International Criminal Court retains jurisdiction over any and all acts committed by government actors until March 17, 2019. Hence, withdrawal from the Rome Statute does not affect the liabilities of individuals charged before the International Criminal Court for acts committed up to this date.”
Needless to say, former Senator Leila de Lima, now out on bail after almost seven years in prison for “a crime never committed,” – receiving bribes from drug lords — would be raging mad against Duterte if and when presented as an ICC witness.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CHEAPER POWER
STARTING last Saturday (Nov, 18), we residents of Iloilo City will be enjoying cheaper electricity until December 14, 2023 at the price of only ₱7.78 (rounded off) per kilowatt-hour. It’s certainly a big discount of ₱2.77 from the previous rate of ₱10.55.
Splurge for Christmas, if you must, as long as it is within your financial capacity.
Regular rates will resume in the next billing cycle collectible in January 2024.
The one-time availability of that discount is in compliance with an Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) resolution.
The other good news is the extension of the deadline for application for MORE Power’s Lifeline Rate Program. This means free electricity for the indigents who consume 20 kWh or less per month.
For those using 21-50 kWh, 50% discount; 51-60 kWh, 45%; 61-70 kWh, 35%; 71-80 kWh, 20%; and 81-95 kWh,10%.