MANILA Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday acknowledged anew that he once supported the Philippines' inclusion in the International Criminal Court (ICC), but agreed with the decision of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to withdraw from the court.
I was very committed to the principles that led to the establishment of the ICC. Yes, I acknowledge we were the most active supporter of the ICC in the Philippines but I do agree with the decision of the President, Roque said in a press conference in Nabua, Camarines Sur.
In a blog post in 2011, Roque, who was then chairman of the Philippine Coalition for the ICC, said he never thought that the membership in the ICC was possible.
Roque said he had to set his personal opinions aside given his new job as spokesperson of the President.
I stand by my personal opinions, but when I became Presidential Spokesperson, I lost my personal opinions. I can only speak the thoughts of the President, that is the nature of my job, Roque said.
In the press conference, Roque reiterated that he agreed with Duterte because he believed that it was the fault of the prosecutor of the ICC for disrespecting the rule of complementarity.
Roque said the ICC should have given Philippine courts the opportunity to exercise jurisdiction.
I feel and I reiterate this is the fault of the prosecutor. States, when they became part of the ICC, did not surrender their sovereignty. They did not surrender the power of their local courts to exercise jurisdiction over crimes that happened in the Philippines, Roque said.
Roque further said that the Philippines should not be compared to African nations Burundi, Sudan, and Somalia. Burundi was the first nation to leave the ICC in October 2017.
'Wag po natin ikumpara ang hukuman ng Pilipinas sa mga bansa gaya ng Burundi, Sudan, Somalia dahil ang ating mga hukuman ay bukas, gumagana at walang hadlang para maparuhasan maski ang Presidente (Let's not compare the court in the Philippines to countries such as Burundi, Sudan, Somalia because our courts are open, operational and are not facing obstacles that prevent them from prosecuting even the President), Roque said.
Hindi po nagbabago ang aking paninindigan pero out of bounds po talaga ang prosecutor (I have not changed my tune but the prosecutor really is out of bounds), he added.
Source: Philippine News Agency