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'No. 2 accused' Dela Rosa happy with Marcos' decision vs. rejoining ICC

Describing himself as the "number 2 accused" in the drug war probe of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa on Tuesday welcomed the government's decision not to rejoin the Hague-based court.

"I must admit it, being the number two accused, I am happy," Dela Rosa said in an interview with reporters, a day after President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. announced that the country "has no intention of rejoining the ICC."

A former national police chief who led the Duterte administration's campaign against illegal drugs, Dela Rosa said there is no compelling reason to rejoin the ICC, noting that even powerful countries have decided not to be covered by the Rome Statute, which established the court.

"Naisip ko kasi if US, Russia, China, Israel and other countries refuse to join ICC, then I don't see any compelling reason why we are going join and allow them to meddle with our internal affairs, which is tantamount to surrendering to them the sovereignty of our nation," he said.

Before announcing the country's stand on rejoining the ICC, Marcos met with members of his administration's legal team to discuss the court's investigation on the deadly war on drugs waged by former President Rodrigo Duterte during his term.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III earlier said Marcos should pursue the Philippines' reapplication as a member of the ICC to provide Filipinos a "court of last resort" in case of abuse and human rights violations.

The ICC recently "invited" the Philippines to provide observations on its request to reopen the investigation into the Duterte administration's anti-drugs campaign, which is blamed for thousands of deaths of drug suspects.

In an order dated July 14, the ICC gave the Philippines until September 8, 2022, to provide any observations on the planned reopening of the probe.

The ICC then instructed its prosecutor — represented by Karim A. A. Khan and Colin Black — to submit any response to the observations of the Philippines by September 22, 2022.  —KBK, GMA News