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Isko shares two cents on ICC probe, West Philippine Sea, ABS-CBN franchise issues

Shortly before announcing his candidacy for president in next year's elections, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Wednesday shared his positions regarding some pressing issues under the Duterte administration.

At a press conference following his announcement, Moreno gave his two cents on the West Philippines Sea dispute, the International Criminal Court's investigation into the drug war killings, and the non-renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise.

"We guarantee you we will position ourselves on issues that matter and affect the lives of our people whether tubig sa dagat na kailangan ang mangingisda na makapangisda [the sea where fishermen should catch fish)," he said.

In 2013, the Philippines challenged China's legal basis for its expansive claim over the South China Sea before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Philippines won the case in a landmark award in 2016 after the tribunal invalidated Beijing’s assertions.

China has since rejected the ruling, saying its claims have a historical basis and are "indisputable."

Moreno said he will respect the rule of law and will continue to acknowledge the relationship of the Philippines with other countries and international organizations.

"Yung ICC, rule of law will be observed. Any John Does and Marys, Juan dela Cruz, o Pedro, can avail, can afford justice," he said.

The ICC earlier authorized the start of investigation into the killings in the Philippines' war on drugs. Malacañang, however, said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines as the country has already withdrawn from the Rome Statute.

For the franchise of ABS-CBN, Moreno said he will sign the franchise if it gets the approval of the House of Representatives. According to him, commerce, business, and opportunity should be for all.

"Pero gagamitin ang kapangyarihan upang manggipit? Umasa kayo, hindi mangyayari yun sa panahon ko [But to use power for harassment? I assure you, it will not happen during my time],” he said.

The House of Representatives voted not to renew ABS-CBN's franchise over supposed violations. It however came after President Rodrigo Duterte, in 2017 and 2018, threatened to block the network's franchise renewal after it failed to air the campaign advertisements he had already paid for in the 2016 elections.

In May 2020, ABS-CBN went off the air following the expiry of its franchise.

Moreno, meanwhile, admitted that he is willing to continue the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program of the Duterte administration. --KBK, GMA News