De Lima to Marcos: Reconsider stance on ICC drug war probe

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 16) — Former Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday called on the Marcos administration to reconsider its position in the International Criminal Court's (ICC) investigation into the bloody Duterte drug war.

Aside from her "unimaginable" bail grant, De Lima said the issuance of a subpoena against former President Rodrigo Duterte for his threats against a lawmaker demonstrates the independence of the judiciary system.

"We can now see the workings of the justice system. We can now see that because the independence of the judiciary is being respected," she told CNN Philippines' Politics As Usual. "The issuance of the subpoena against the former president, that's part of the process."

"So it's really time for this administration to rethink their position in so far as the issue of whether this government will cooperate with the ICC investigators," De Lima stressed.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has said the country will no longer engage with the ICC after it denied the government's appeal to stop the drug war investigation.

READ: Marcos: PH ending all involvement with ICC

The current administration is also adamant that since the Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute of the ICC in 2019, the court no longer has jurisdiction over the country, even over crimes allegedly occurring when it was still a state party to the treaty.

However, De Lima said the Philippines should now consider rejoining the ICC, "and then cooperate with the ICC investigators in order to ensure justice for the thousands of victims of the deadly drug war."

READ: DOJ not keen on creating independent commission to probe drug war

De Lima, one of the most vocal critics of Duterte, was detained in 2017 for allegedly benefitting from the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison when she was the justice secretary. She allegedly used the drug money to fund her senatorial bid in 2016.

She has consistently denied the allegations, saying her detention was the Duterte administration's way to silence her for her criticisms of its bloody war on drugs.

A Muntinlupa court on Monday allowed De Lima to post bail for her third and remaining drug case, giving her provisional liberty.

The former senator had been acquitted in the two other cases in February 2021 and in May this year.

READ: De Lima: There has to be a day of reckoning