THE Philippine government will exhaust all legal remedies against the resumption of investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the drug war under the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said on Friday, January 27, 2023.

Guevarra said they are looking into bringing up the matter to the ICC appeals chamber, which has the authority to either reverse and amend the decision of a trial chamber.

“While we have not received an official copy of this resolution, it is our intention to exhaust our legal remedies, more particularly elevating the matter to the ICC appeals chamber,” Guevarra said.

“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,” he added.

On January 26, the ICC Pre-trial Chamber I granted the request of a prosecutor to resume the conduct of a probe on the alleged crimes against humanity in the Philippines in relation to Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs.

The ICC said it was not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant investigations, especially on the deaths related to the drug war that would warrant a deferral of its investigations on the basis of the complementarity principle.

This came despite the earlier request of the Philippine government not to continue with the probe, noting that national authorities were investigating or had already investigated the cases, and that the ICC has no jurisdiction over it since the Duterte administration has already withdrawn membership in the Rome Statute that established the ICC.

Guevarra earlier said the ICC has jurisdiction over certain crimes only, such as genocide, crimes of aggression, crimes against humanity and war crime.

On June 14, 2021, then outgoing ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked ICC judges for an approval for the conduct of an official investigation into the alleged crime against humanity of murder in the country covering the period of November 1, 2011 to March 16, 2019.

The former administration said the move to probe the drug war was politically motivated.

From July 2016 to May 31, a total of 6,252 individuals were killed in the drug war. (SunStar Philippines)