Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday questioned the authority of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to look into the complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal crackdown against illegal drugs.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Calida also said that the ICC “cannot interfere” as the 1987 Philippine Constitution is “higher” than the Rome Statute which created the ICC.
Calida also slammed the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for announcing that it intends to join the ICC in conducting the “preliminary examination” of the complaint.
“Is the treaty higher than our Constitution? And now, the CHR, they are bragging that they will do an investigation. Where did they get the authority? Is the CHR a different branch of government? As far as I know, there are only three: executive, legislative and judiciary,” he said.
In a statement on Saturday, CHR chairman Chito Gascon said his agency was ready to work with the ICC in conducting its preliminary examination on the allegations of extrajudicial killings against the government.
“The CHR is ready, if requested, to assist in any way with the process of preliminary examination. The government, as a party to the Rome Statute, is duty-bound to fully cooperate with the ICC,” Gascon said in a statement.
But for Calida, “the problem with the CHR is the chairman.”
“Gascon was a stalwart of the Liberal Party, and apparently, they are using their powers to pick on the President,” Calida claimed.
Meanwhile, Calida also stressed that the President should not be under any criminal investigation as the Chief Executive is “immune from suit” as stated by the Constitution.
“Under our Constitution and buttressed by jurisprudence, the President is immune from suit. If he is immune from suit under our Constitution, why should another organization invoking a treaty (the Rome Statute) will get (to investigate), for instance, the ICC,” Calida said. /muf
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