The unanimous decision of the Supreme Court upholding the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) over President Rodrigo Duterte is an added luster to judicial independence.
The high court rejected Duterte's repeated posturing that the withdrawal of the Philippines from the Rome Statute on March 16, 2018 at his sole behest deprives the ICC of its jurisdiction over him and his men for alleged crimes against humanity and other atrocities due to his brutal war on drugs.
The Supreme Court cited that Article 127 of the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, provides that the withdrawal of a state party takes effect one year after receipt by the Secretary General of the United Nations of the notification of withdrawal.
Consequently, the country's withdrawal took effect only on March 17, 2019, and all covered offenses committed by Duterte from the time the Philippines became a state party in November 2011 up to March 16, 2019 fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC and the country is obligated to cooperate with the investigation of the ICC prosecutor.
This decision will further fuel Duterte's obsession to run for vice president on the errant notion invoking feigned immunity.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN