Philippines to bar ICC staff if they'll conduct probe vs Duterte
Representatives from the International Criminal Court would be barred from entering the Philippines if they would conduct an investigation in relation to the complaints filed against President Rodrigo Duterte, Malacanang said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned US would revoke or deny visas of the ICC members investigating the alleged war crimes committed by the American troops in Afghanistan or other countries.
"You can't do it (investigation) here. If you persist, you will be deported because you will be violating certain (laws)," he told reporters.
He said the Duterte administration would not allow any interference in the sovereignty of the Philippines.
"Because when you try to subject a country to your jurisdiction, then you're interfering with that country because we have our own courts here. We can prosecute anybody if we feel some violators or transgressors of the law," said Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel.
When ICC representatives arrive, the Bureau of Immigration staff would immediately ask them of the purpose of their entry, he said.
But if they would come to Manila as tourists, they would be allowed entry, said Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel.
The Philippine withdrawal from the ICC took effect on March 17.
The Duterte administration has claimed that the Philippines never became a member of the ICC despite the ratification of the Rome Statute, which created the war crimes court, due to lack of publication of the treaty in Official Gazette or newspaper of general circulation.
At least two complaints about alleged crimes against humanity have been filed against Duterte before the ICC due to his bloody war on drugs. Celerina Monte/DMS