Dispatch from Crame No. 357: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the Supreme Court’s denial of her plea to appear and orally argue in the case re: withdrawal from the Rome Statute/ICC


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I am deeply disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court denying my motion, as supported by my co-petitioners, to personally argue the case on the government’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute / International Criminal Court.

Humbled and honored by the confidence reposed in me by my colleagues in the minority, I remain in earnest to be able to argue on an issue of transcendental importance that has both grave national and international implications.

Human rights and accountability. These are the two torches that I have carried this past decade.

Truly, taking on such a task of arguing before the SC in this case would be a natural progression of my decade-long twin advocacy for upholding human rights of all persons, and the holding of public officials accountable to their abuses against the people they ought to serve.

The case is very personal to me since it reflects the hostility of the President to international human rights institutions and officials with whom I closely identify with as former CHR Chair. I felt that in arguing this case before the Court, I would also be defending them and fighting for the cause that we all hold close to our hearts: human rights and human dignity.

My request to personally argue the case was also borne out of a desire to highlight the importance of the Philippines’ continued status as a State-Party to the Rome Statute, and why Duterte is deathly afraid of it. This is Duterte ensuring impunity for himself.

The withdrawal from the ICC is a self-serving act of the President, and is the best reason why the Constitution could not have contemplated that one man alone should be able to revoke and abrogate a whole nation’s solemn obligations to the international community. Through our Petition, we, the minority bloc, are simply asserting the Senate’s constitutional role in treaty making and un-making.

With this development, my co-petitioners and I will now decide on a proper course of action to ensure that we will be duly heard by the Supreme Court.

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