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Marcos on ICC rejection: No next move for PH gov't

There is no next move for the Philippine government after the International Criminal Court, through its Appeals Chamber, rejected the bid to suspend the investigation into the country's drug war, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said Tuesday.

Interviewed by reporters in Pasay City, Marcos said with the rejection, there is no more reason for the Philippines to get involved with the ICC.

"We don't have next move. That's the extent of our involvement with the ICC. That ends our involvement with the ICC," Marcos said.

"The appeal has failed. In our view, there’s nothing more that we can do... At this point we are essentially disengaging from any contact, communication with the ICC."

Marcos stressed that the Philippines no longer has any recourse with the ICC, maintaining the government's position that it will not cooperate with the international body.

"We ended up in the same position that we started with and that is we cannot cooperate with the ICC considering the very serious questions about their jurisdiction and about what we consider to be interference and practically attacks on the sovereignty of the Republic," he said.

"So that pretty much it, we have no longer any recourse when it comes to the ICC."

In a statement, Senate justice and human rights committee chairman Francis Tolentino reiterated that the ICC should recognize the sovereignty of the Philippines, adding that the denial has no "binding effect."

“The Appeal made by the Philippines was a courteous assertion of our sovereignty, its denial has no binding effect. It will not clothe the ICC with jurisdiction, as there was none in the first place. ICC should recognize the fundamental pillar of the international legal order, which is sovereignty,” he said.

The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019, under then-President Rodrigo Duterte, the architect of the drug war.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra earlier said the rejection of the government's appeal by the ICC was an "indictment" of the country's judicial system.

According to Guevarra, the ruling will have "serious and far-reaching" consequences for the Philippines.

"It places us in the same class of rogue nations where the rule of law is not respected," Guevarra said.

"It is an indictment against our entire legal and judicial system, and it encroaches on our sovereignty as an independent and law-abiding nation."

In rejecting the Philippines' appeal, the ICC Appeals Chamber said the government failed to explain the Court's lack of jurisdiction or to provide an explanation of the implications and scope of the investigation.

It also pointed out that the local investigation can proceed even with the ongoing ICC investigation.

The Philippines was seeking the reversal of the ICC's decision to resume the probe into the Duterte administration's controversial war on drugs, which according to human rights organizations has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.

In February, Marcos said he would not cooperate with the inquiry of the ICC into the abuses in the campaign against illegal drugs of the previous administration. —with Hana Bordey/KBK/VBL, GMA Integrated News