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NOTHING TO FEAR

February 22, 2024 People's Journal 87 views

No one should fear ICC if they have nothing to hide, lawmakers say

FORMER President Rodrigo Roa Duterte should not be afraid of facing the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged human rights violations committed during his six-year term that ended in June 2022, administration lawmakers said.

Reps. Ernesto Dionisio of Manila’s first district, Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte’s First District and Francisco Paolo Ortega of the First District of La Union all believe, however, that ICC still has “no jurisdiction” over the Philippines, just like what President Marcos declared.

“Personally, I, like all of us congressmen here, stand with the President that ICC really has no jurisdiction. But if you have nothing to hide – more or less – why will you be afraid when ICC comes in?” Dionisio said after asked his comment on the matter during a news briefing Monday.

Dimaporo, chairman of the House Committee on Muslim Affairs, raised the same concern. “If there is nothing to hide, then why fear the ICC?” he asked. “On the part of the President, it’s more of our national sovereignty that our institutions are still functioning.”

In essence, what the Mindanao legislator is saying is there is no more need for ICC to come over and investigate alleged thousands of cases of extrajudicial killings on the basis that the country’s democratic institutions – like the police and the judiciary – are perfectly functioning.

“I don’t believe it will be a detriment on the part of the Philippine government to have it confirmed by the ICC – whether there was or whether there was not any extra-judicial killings during the concept on the war on drugs of the previous administration,” Dimaporo added.

Ortega, for his part, said he understands why 59 percent of respondents in the latest OCTA survey supported an ICC probe.

“We stand with the decision of the President, but we also respect the survey. Perhaps people are seeing the irregularities, and these will really come out in surveys,” he said.

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