Marcos, other PH officials meet to tackle ICC probe

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 28)— President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. met with his administration’s top lawyers and officials to discuss their strategy on the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation on the Philippines.

Both Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra and Justice Secretary Boying Remulla on Thursday confirmed the development, but kept mum on the details of the meeting.

“[T]he only agenda was the government’s position on the ICC investigation,” Guevarra told the media, referring to the meeting held on Wednesday. “But I’d rather leave it to the president to make any disclosure at this time.”

Remulla, for his part, pointed out that the Philippines has already withdrawn from the Rome Statute, the treaty that governs the ICC.

“The concern really there is the theoretical framework by which we are part of the ICC,” Remulla told reporters in a separate event.

“[I]n my opinion, they have no jurisdiction over our country when it comes to these things they want to investigate because we are not anymore members of the ICC,” he added.

The ICC previously said it retains jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed while the country was still a member of the tribunal. The Philippines’ withdrawal took effect in March 2019.

Last month, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan requested for the resumption of the probe into the Duterte administration’s flagship anti-drug campaign.

The investigation was put on hold following a deferral request from the Philippine government, but Khan argued that the country failed to show proof and details of its own probe on related killings.

READ: Groups laud ICC prosecutor’s call to resume PH drug war probe, urge incoming admin to cooperate

Other officials who took part in the meeting were Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile, and lawyer Harry Roque, who attended as a private counsel.

CNN Philippines' Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.