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EDITORIAL: Unfitting Stance

THE recent developments surrounding the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation have intensified the political drama in the Philippines, shedding light on the strategies of former president Rodrigo Duterte and the wavering stance of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

President Marcos’ justice secretary, Jesus Crispin Remulla, asserted that the ICC lacks jurisdiction over the Philippines, echoing the government’s cautious response to speculations about a potential arrest warrant for Duterte. However, Marcos’ strongest position to date was in late 2023 when he expressed openness to studying the country’s return to the ICC.

The public exchange of accusations between Marcos and Duterte reached a crescendo in late January, with both leaders engaging in simultaneous rallies. Duterte accused Marcos of drug addiction, prompting a rare sharp retort from Marcos, who suggested that Duterte’s tirades might be linked to fentanyl use.

The uncertainty surrounding a potential arrest warrant has raised tensions, with Duterte declaring his intent to resist arrest, even suggesting the possibility of violence. Meanwhile, international law advocates argue that the Philippines, despite withdrawing from the ICC, still bears the obligation to cooperate, creating a potential framework for national authorities to enforce any warrant.

The lack of decisive actions from President Marcos has left the door open for a potential local court showdown, although legal experts emphasize procedural limitations. The Philippine National Police, under Marcos, has stated its unwillingness to enforce any ICC arrest warrant, adding complexity to the enforcement challenges.

Political analyst Maria Ela Atienza highlights the need for President Marcos to demonstrate decisive actions, urging him not to be perceived as weak by various stakeholders. The absence of such actions may pave the way for a local court resolution, although procedural constraints exist.

The victims of Duterte’s drug war, supportive of the ICC investigation, express concerns over the potential dangers of a public inquiry. Human rights advocates continue to call for Marcos to cooperate with the ICC and reconsider the drug war policy, emphasizing the urgency for justice and closure for the victims.

As the political tension unfolds, the Philippines faces a critical juncture where legal, political, and human rights considerations intersect. The international community watches closely, awaiting President Marcos’ next moves and the resolution of a complex and sensitive situation.

This editorial offers a suggested takeaway for the Filipino people that they should be stay informed and engaged in the unfolding events. It encourages that we continue to scrutinize the actions of our leaders, advocate for transparency, and seek accountability in the face of political tensions. Additionally, it could call for a collective demand for a fair and just resolution to the ICC investigation aside from urging our leaders to prioritize our welfare and concerns.


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