MANILA Senate President Aquilino Koko Pimentel III said he would have done exactly what President Rodrigo R. Duterte did in withdrawing the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC) if he were in the latter's shoes.
In a statement released to media on Wednesday, Duterte said the Philippines would withdraw its ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty which created the ICC.
I therefore declare and forthwith give notice, as President of the Republic of the Philippines, that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately, Duterte said.
Duterte made the declaration after the ICC started preliminary examinations over allegations filed against him in connection with the high number of killings in the war against drugs by his administration.
If I were president, baka ginawa ko rin yun. (If I were president, I probably will do the same thing). Imagine, sino ang nagrereklamo? Tapos ano yung mga alegasyon? Hindi ba ito domestic policy? (Imagine, who is complaining? Then what are the allegations? Is this not domestic policy?) This is law enforcement, Pimentel said in an ambush interview.
He said Duterte is just enforcing Philippine laws when he declared the war against illegal drugs and accused the ICC and other foreign critics for meddling with domestic affairs.
On the ICC investigation, Pimentel said the body may do anything they want, even continue with the probe and issue an indictment, depending on the attitude of the ICC prosecutor. However, he said that enforcing an arrest would be another thing.
He said that if a person who has an arrest warrant from the ICC is found in a state signatory or member of the ICC, they are duty bound to apprehend that person but in the Philippines , for example, law enforcers would not participate because the country has already withdrawn from the ICC.
For his part, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Duterte may have declared the country's withdrawal from the ICC because the President felt that he would not get a fair treatment.
"We should at least wait for him to clarify ang kanyang action taken. Kasi siguradong may reason siya for withdrawing (We should at least wait for him to clarify his action taken because he has a reason for withdrawing)," Lacson said.
Source: Philippine News Agency