PH’s return to ICC may improve BBM’s human rights ‘reputation’ – law prof

By Gerome Dalipe IV

Should the Philippines resume its membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC)?

For law professor Jose Edmund Guillen, doing so will even help improve the image and reputation of the Marcos administration when it comes to human rights issues.

Guillen, who teaches Political Law subject at the University of San Agustin and Central Philippine University, emphasized that the decision to return to ICC membership lies solely on the chief executive “being the chief architect of foreign policy.”

“It is not even unconstitutional how much more patently,” Guillen, who is also the regional director of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in Region 6, told Daily Guardian.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier told reporters that his administration is considering resuming membership of the ICC barely five years after it withdrew over opposition to a bid by the court to investigate a bloody anti-narcotics campaign.

“There is also a question, should we return under the fold of the ICC, so that’s again under study. So we’ll just keep looking at it and see what our options are,” Marcos Jr. was quoted as saying.

In 2019, the Philippines withdrew from the international tribunal after former President Rodrigo Duterte questioned its jurisdiction to investigate the campaign against illegal drugs in which thousands of people were killed.

Marcos admitted that legal issues over jurisdiction and sovereignty were still “problems” for the Philippines.

“Now if we can solve these problems, then that would be something else, but those questions are fundamental,” Marcos said.

The ICC had rejected a Philippine appeal to stop investigating Duterte’s drug war.

Guillen said that the question of whether or not the country’s withdrawal from the ICC is beneficial or not is “influenced by the priorities of the present administration.”

“Many countries including the EU (European Union) consider human rights record and compliance with various relevant conventions as part of the factors to consider in terms of economic and political engagement with certain countries like the Philippines,” said Guillen.

Likewise, lawyer Jeremy Bionat, interim executive director of Iloilo Media-Citizen Council (IMCC), pointed out that the concurrence by at least two-thirds of all members of the Senate is required under the Constitution for a country to be a member of a treaty.

Otherwise, such a treaty or agreement is not valid or effective, said Bionat.