Constitutionality of ICC withdrawal challenged anew in SC petition

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday received a second petition questioning the constitutionality of President Rodrigo R. Dutete’s decision to withdraw the Philippines’ membership from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), this time submitted by the non-government organization that helped lobby for the treaty’s ratification.

In their 49-page petition, the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC) said, “the President gravely abused his discretion in an act tantamount to an absence or a lack or jurisdiction, when he unilaterally decided to withdraw the membership of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court, as his act violated the Constitutional system of checks and balances in treaty-making under Art VII, Sec. 21 of the 1987 Charter, which prescribes a shared duty towards that end between the Executive and the Legislative branches of the government.”

Mr. Duterte, through Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., submitted before the international body its formal withdrawal on March 16 in response to the ICC’s preliminary examination against him for alleged crimes against humanity committed under his administration’s drug war.

BusinessWorld reported on the filing of the first petition last May 16 by opposition Senators Francis N. Pangilinan, Franklin M. Drilon, Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV, Leima M. De Lima, Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, and Antonio F. Trillanes IV which claimed Mr. Duterte’s withdrawal was unconstitutional as it did not pass through Congress. — Dane Angelo Enerio