Malacañang urges critics: File complaints in Philippine courts

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Manila (October 2)– “We have a working criminal justice system in the Philippines.  Those who have complaints against the President, better file their complaints against him here in the Philippines,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., in a Palace briefing yesterday said.

Malacañang maintained that critics of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte need not go to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to file a complaint against him since the country’s criminal justice system is perfectly working.

Roque said it would be a direct affront to the PH courts’ credibility if they could not exercise jurisdiction over such cases.   “I refuse to concede and admit as a Filipino lawyer, as an officer of the court, that our courts are unable or unwilling to exercise jurisdiction,” Roque added.

According to the Palace official, the ICC is only a court of last resort.  Parties can only go to the ICC when their country’s courts are unwilling or unable to exercise jurisdiction over a certain case, as per the principle of complementarity.

Roque listed a number of countries, including Uganda, Congo, Central African Republic, Kenya, Mali, among others, which resorted to the ICC because their domestic courts failed to exercise jurisdiction.

“You will see that for the countries under investigation an overwhelming majority of these investigations were referred to by state parties themselves,” Roque said, adding that most of these cases involved armed conflicts.

Roque reiterated the Palace position that the context of President Duterte’s recent remarks on extra-judicial killings (EJK) is that EJKs are the only criticisms leveled against the former.

“I don’t think this amounts to, well admission because for it to be an admission or declaration against interest, he must have explicitly admitted to the crime of murder which he has not,” he added.

The Palace Spokesperson likewise explained that in both domestic and international laws, there is no explicit crime of EJK.  “I’d like to emphasize that there’s actually no crime under both domestic law or international law as EJK. In fact, this is a misleading term because killing in our constitution and in our laws is never legal so there is no such thing as an extra-judicial killing,” he said.

Roque chided critics who claimed that the President’s admission will bolster the case in the ICC, saying there was no case pending in the ICC.    “The prosecutor at this stage is only examining if she should, in fact, proceed to a preliminary investigation,” he added. -NewsLine

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