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Lacson Backs PH Return Under International Court That's Investigating Duterte

Foreign policy should be anchored on national interest, he says.
by Erwin Colcol
Nov 4, 2021
Photo/s: Senate PRIB
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Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said he was willing to rejoin the Rome Statute, which will again place the Philippines under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, if he wins as president in the 2022 elections.

Lacson said that while the Department of Foreign Affairs be consulted on this matter, he believes that the Philippines should return to the Rome Statute.

"After all, ang foreign policy natin kailangan naka-anchor lagi sa national interest. Ano ba yung mapapangalagaan natin na national interest kung babalik tayo sa Rome Statute at ano yung mga disadvantages... Pero initially, the answer is a clear yes," he added.

The Philippines left the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019, one year after President Rodrigo Duterte withdrew the country's ratification of the treaty due to “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and his administration.

The decision to leave the ICC came after the court's Office of the Prosecutor said it would look into allegations against Duterte related to the war on drugs.

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Despite the withdrawal, the ICC said it had jurisdiction over crimes committed while the Philippines was still a member.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Lacson's running mate, said the government was too focused on enforcement and prosecution in dealing with the drug problem when the more effective solution is prevention and rehabilitation.

"The day they stop buying is the day they stop selling. Kung wala nang bibili, wala nang drug dependent, paano magkakaroon ng pusher? So they all agreed. And that's going to be our program," he said.

"We will not be putting enforcement and prosecution to the back burner. It's still there, but emphasis on prevention and rehabilitation," he added.

At least 6,181 people have been killed in over 200,000 anti-drug operations conducted since July 2016, according to the latest official data released by the Philippines in July this year.

ICC prosecutors in court papers estimate the figure to be between 12,000 to 30,000 slain victims. --- with a report from Agence France Presse.

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