PCICC responding to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s statement on 18 March that there is ‘uncontroverted proof that domestic legal and judicial processes are functioning normally in our country’ in welcoming the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss plea seeking to declare as invalid the Philippine withdrawal from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Atty. Ray Paolo J. Santiago, PCICC spokesperson said:
“Mr. Roque’s statement is misleading since the Supreme Court’s decision is with regard to the Philippine withdrawal from the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court. It never touched upon the cases communicated to the ICC that occurred during the time the Philippines was a State Party to the Rome Statute. These cases are now being examined by the Office of the Prosecutor. The cases within the jurisdiction of the ICC are those which were committed from July 1, 2016 until March 16, 2019, which all occurred prior to the withdrawal.
“It is fallacious to say that there is ‘uncontroverted proof that domestic legal and judicial processes are functioning normally in our country.” It presupposes that there are proper investigations that have been conducted with regard to the thousands of extrajudicial killings in the country. The failure of the government of the Philippines to investigate these cases and bring perpetrators to justice means that the OTP can ask the ICC to approve a request to open an investigation on the Philippines. Just like in the conviction of the perpetrators in the Kian delos Santos’ case, justice can happen only if the government wills it. But the Kian case is only a single case out of thousands of killings. One is not enough for the government to claim that there is proof that legal and judicial processes are functioning well in this country. Thousands of families are waiting for justice. In fact, the DOJ already reported to the UNHRC that the PNP failed to investigate and safekeep evidence of some of the cases of EJK during police operations.
“The Philippine government still has to concretely demonstrate that it is able and willing to exact accountability and deliver justice for the thousands killed in the bloody war on drugs. The families look forward to the ICC as a recourse for justice. They deserve an investigation on the circumstances of the killing of their kin. This government is not providing that, and impunity continues.”