Opposition senators no-show in own ICC oral arguments: 'they lack confidence in the merits of their own case' - columnist - The Daily Sentry

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Opposition senators no-show in own ICC oral arguments: 'they lack confidence in the merits of their own case' - columnist

Composite photo of Senators Franklin Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan and Bam Aquino / photo from Google (ctto)

Manila, Philippines – Opposition Senators were a no-show on Tuesday, August 28, when the Supreme Court (SC) heard in oral arguments their petition questioning the validity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Instead, they sent lawyer Anne Marie Corominas who said that the senators want more time to decide how they will proceed.

The Court has denied the request to let detained Senator Leila de Lima represent them at the oral arguments, twice.

Meanwhile, Manila Times columnist Yen Makabenta said on his recent opinion article that the senators’ failure to show up on their own hearing only means they lack confidence in the merits of their own case.

“It is simply a desperate ploy to buy more time. Or, perhaps most likely, the case has become a lost cause or just a waste of time.” Makabenta added

“The challenge of opposition senators to President Duterte’s decision to withdraw the country from the International Criminal Court (ICC) entered this realm of speculation, when the Liberal Party senators — LP president Francis Pangilinan, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Paulo Benigno Aquino 4th — did not show up on Tuesday for the oral arguments on their petition before the high court.” The columnist continued

Makabenta cited two reasons why the opposition senators did not show up:

First, President Duterte has indisputable ground and authority to withdraw the Philippines from the Rome Statute. Withdrawal is a prerogative of a treaty signatory.

Second, the ICC is a dubious institution, rejected or ignored by the biggest and leading countries of the world, and propped up mainly by lesser states. It was controversial at birth; it remains controversial and debatable today.*

The president announced in March this year the government’s withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute, the United Nations treaty that created the ICC.

Duterte reasoned, “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” of the ICC against him and his administration.

This move from the chief executive rooted after ICC special prosecutor Fatou Bensouda started a preliminary examination on the alleged human rights violations in connection with the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs in the country.

Further, Makabenta cited that majority of the world’s states do not have confidence or support towards the ICC.

“Four signatory states — Israel, Sudan, the United States and Russia — have informed the UN Secretary General that they no longer intend to become states parties and, as such, have no legal obligations arising from their signature of the statute.” He wrote

“Forty-one United Nations member states have neither signed nor acceded to the Rome Statute. Some of them, including China and India, are critical of the court. Ukraine, a non-ratifying signatory, accepted the court’s jurisdiction for a period starting in 2013.” The columnist continued

Also he explained that the country’s Supreme Court “cannot rule on the petition against the withdrawal without taking into account this checkered geography of support for the ICC.”

 Source: Manila Times