SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go emphasized the importance of the Philippines’ judicial independence, particularly in light of potential International Criminal Court (ICC) interventions.
In a media interview on Thursday, November 30, during the break of the Bicameral Conference Committee on the General Appropriations Bill, Go referenced to the affirmations of both President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and former president Rodrigo Duterte about their trust in the functionality of the Philippine judicial system.
“Unang-una, nagsalita po ang dating pangulong Duterte. Nag-withdraw na po ang Philippine Government sa membership sa ICC. At nagsalita rin po ang kasalukuyang mahal nating Pangulong Bongbong Marcos na meron naman tayong working judicial system,” he stated.
Go emphasized the strength of Philippine democracy, highlighting the country’s leadership under a democratically elected president, contrasting it with nations typically scrutinized by the ICC, which are riddled with lawlessness, criminality, and dictatorships.
“’Yung atin dito sa Pilipinas, democratically elected president. Ibig sabihin, umiiral po ang demokrasya dito sa atin. Wala naman pong diktador dito sa ating bansa ngayon. Pilipino na po ang humusga,” Go stated, affirming the strong and sustained democracy of the country.
The senator also cited remarks made by former Supreme Court Chief Justice, now Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, who said that “the Philippines already has a functioning justice institution and that the procedures are in place.”
Go, in an earlier interview on Wednesday, November 29, after conducting an inspection of a Super Health Center in Candijay, Bohol, emphasized again that the Philippines has a functioning justice system that upholds the rights of every Filipino to seek legal remedies.
“Ibig sabihin, magtiwala tayo sa ating judicial system. Huwag nating hahayaan na ang banyaga po ang magsabi kung sino ang iimbestigahan, sino ang kakasuhan, sino ang hahatulan,” added Go.
Go further stressed the importance of the international community respecting Philippine jurisdiction in its own judicial matters.
“Hayaan na po natin ang Pilipino ang humusga kung mayroon bang nagbago sa buhay ninyo sa panahon ni dating pangulong Duterte. Filipinos should be the judge, Filipinos should be judged only by fellow Filipinos before Philippine courts operating under Philippine laws,” he said.
Go then reiterated his unwavering confidence in the Philippine judicial system saying, “Dapat po’y Pilipino po ang humusga at ako po’y naniniwala sa ating judicial system. ICC has no right and business to meddle in our internal affairs where our courts remain fully operational.”
“Ibig sabihin, functioning naman po ang ating judicial system, magtiwala lang po tayo sa ating sariling judicial system and free from political influence,” he added.
When asked about the ICC’s potential involvement in investigating the war on drugs under Duterte’s presidency, president Marcos Jr. himself has reiterated his position with respect to Philippine sovereignty.
“Simple lang naman ‘yang isyung ‘yan. Hindi naman siguro tama na ang mga taga-labas, mga dayuhan ang magsasabi sa atin kung sino iimbestigahan ng pulis natin, sino aarestuhin ng pulis natin, sinong ikukulong ng pulis natin. Hindi naman siguro tama ‘yun. Dapat Pilipino lang ang gumagawa niyan,” president Marcos expressed in an interview last November 24.
In July this year, Marcos has already signaled an end to the Philippines’ cooperation with the ICC regarding their probe into Duterte’s war on drugs, noting that there were no pending appeals or actions, thereby concluding the country’s dealings with the ICC.
On March 17, 2018, then-president Duterte notified the United Nations Secretary-General about the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC. In accordance with the provisions of the ICC treaty, the complete withdrawal took effect one year after the notification date.
Vice President Sara Duterte also reiterated her disapproval of collaborating with the ICC in their inquiry into supposed violations during the War on Drugs of the Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, Go expressed his respect for fellow lawmakers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives who may have differing opinions on the matter.
“So, hintayin na lang po natin kung ano po ‘yung magiging desisyon ng Philippine Government sa pamumuno ni Pangulong Bongbong Marcos. Nirerespeto rin po natin ang House of Representatives, sa kanilang resolution expressing the sense of the Congress on the matter,” said Go.
“Kami naman dito sa Senado, kung magkakaroon man ng pagdidinig o iba’t ibang resolution, nirerespeto rin po natin,” he added.
The senator also expressed support for Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) under Duterte, advocating for his right to be judged by Filipinos.
“Ako po’y sinusuportahan po namin si Senador Bato… Pilipino po ang dapat humusga,” he said.
Furthermore, the senator pointed out the improvements in safety and public order during and after the Duterte administration, stressing that the Filipino people themselves are in the best position to judge the impact of the campaign against illegal drugs.
“Tanungin n’yo na lang po ang mamamayang Pilipino sa panahon po ni (dating) pangulong Duterte. Dapat Pilipino po ang humusga, kung mas nakakalakad ba ang mga anak ninyo noong panahon ni (dating) pangulong Duterte na hindi nasasaktan, hindi nababastos.”
“Eh, kung noong unang panahon po, ‘yung anak natin takot maglakad d’yan sa gabi dahil andoon po ‘yung mga addict at mga criminal. Noong panahon ni (dating) pangulong Duterte, nakakalakad sila, nakaka-uwi sila na hindi sila nasasaktan,” added Go.