Caritas Philippines calls on Marcos gov’t to rejoin ICC

December 1, 2023 - 4:12 PM
Ferdinand Marcos Jr
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his speech during a joint press statement with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines, July 31, 2023. (Aaron Favila/Pool via Reuters/File Photo)

The social advocacy arm of the Catholic Church called on the Marcos administration to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC) to improve the country’s human rights record.

Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Antonio Labiao said the government has “a crucial role to play in ensuring that the nation upholds its international obligations and protects the rights of its citizens”.

“Rejoining the ICC would send a strong message that the government is serious about accountability and justice for all,” Labiao said.

“The Philippine government has a responsibility to its citizens to uphold the rule of law and protect human rights,” he said.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr earlier disclosed that proposals for the nation’s rejoining the ICC are “under study”.

The president made the statement amid calls for the country to allow ICC prosecutors to probe former president Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly drug war that killed thousands of people.

The Philippines signed the Rome Statute in 2011 but it pulled out in 2018 during Duterte’s presidency after the ICC announced the launch of a preliminary investigation on the drug killings.

The Rome Statute created the ICC as a special type of international institution – a court of justice.