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Saturday, July 13, 2024

‘SC recognizes limits on powers of the President’

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While the Supreme Court dismissed two petitions questioning the validity of the government’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute for being moot and academic, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the decision acknowledged the limitations on the power of the President as chief architect of foreign policy.

 Drilon said in the press statement issued by the Supreme Court, it said the decision acknowledged that the President, as primary architect of foreign policy, is subject to the Constitution and existing statutes. 

“Therefore, the power of the President to withdraw unilaterally can be limited by the conditions for concurrence by the Senate or when there is an existing law which authorizes the negotiation of a treaty or international agreement or when there is a statute that implements an existing treaty,” the High Court said.

Drilon said the most striking point is the acknowledgement that the power of the President to withdraw “unilaterally” can be subject to limitations by the Senate. 

“It is a highly interesting decision,” Drilon added.

In a unanimous decision penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, the SC “dismissed the petitions questioning the unilateral withdrawal for being moot and academic.”

In March 2018, Duterte announced the country’s withdrawal from the ICC, citing “baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks” against him and his administration.

In a diplomatic note to the United Nations Secretary General, the Philippines said that “the decision to withdraw is the Philippines’ principled stand against those who politicize and weaponize human rights, even as its independent and well-functioning organs and agencies continue to exercise jurisdiction over complaints, issues, problems and concerns arising from its efforts to protect the people.” Macon Ramos-Araneta

 This prompted Senators Drilon, Leila de Lima, Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV to file a petition questioning the constitutionality of the President’s action to withdraw from ICC.

The six senators said the President’s withdrawal from the ICC was invalid as it has no concurrence from at least two-thirds of the 24-member Senate.

Apart from the petition filed by the six senators, the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC) led by former Commission on Human Rights chair Loretta Rosales also filed a similar petition, arguing that “the President gravely abused his discretion in an act tantamount to an absence or a lack of jurisdiction, when he unilaterally decided to withdraw the membership of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court.”

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