Remulla: PH justice system working, ICC revival of ‘drug war’ probe an ‘irritant’
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Friday insisted that the Philippines has a functional justice system as he called the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to resume its “drug war” probe an “irritant.”
Remulla also vowed to prevent the ICC from imposing upon the Philippines, which is a sovereign country.
The ICC’s pre-trial chamber has granted the prosecutor’s request to reopen the investigation into the Philippines’ war on drugs during the time of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
The tribunal said that after examining submitted materials from the Philippine government, the ICC prosecutor, and drug war victims, the collections of information “do not amount to tangible, concrete and progressive investigative steps in a way that would sufficiently mirror the Court’s investigation.”
But Remulla maintained that the Philippine government is doing what it can to fix and improve the system despite a number of limitations in the investigations being conducted by authorities on drug war-related cases.
“The NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) is in the process of reorganizing. The organization is pushing through. We are about to hire 1000 more agents. We are building capacity. In terms of the PNP (Philippine National Police) we have suggested ways to reform the system…So we are, as a country, we are doing what it takes to fix the system and we are fully functioning judicial system,” he said in a press conference.
“I don’t see where they will come in, what role they will play unless they want to take over our legal system,” Remulla added.
He said he will speak to Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra regarding their next course of action.
“[But] Definitely, I do not welcome this move. I will not welcome them [ICC] in the Philippines unless they make clean that they will respect us. I will not stand for any of these antics that will tend to question our sovereignty. I will not accept that,” Remulla said.
Guevarra, meanwhile, said he has yet to receive an official copy of the ICC resolution but said: “it is our intention to exhaust our legal remedies, more particularly elevating the matter to the ICC appeals chamber.”
“We wish to emphasize that our own domestic investigative and judicial processes should take precedence, and we can show that despite structural and resource limitations in our legal system, it is still a well-functioning system that yields positive results in its own time,” the solicitor general said in a message to reporters.
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