TURNING POINT: Withdrawal Method

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 28 March) – The argument peddled by defenders of the regime is that the International Criminal Court cannot run after President Duterte and President Xi for the alleged crimes they have committed against humanity for lack of jurisdiction; the Philippines has already withdrawn from the International Criminal Court and China is not a signatory member of the Rome statute.

The logic contradicts law enforcement realities or practices on the ground. Any country can nab a suspected criminal that threatens its security and disturbs its peace. The suspect need not be a national of the country; he could be an alien or a stateless person. If any country can do it, there is no reason why the ICC as an arm of the United Nations, a community that represents humanity, cannot run after any evil wrongdoer that disturbs the peace of humanity regardless of his country of origin, that is, whether it is a member state or not of the UN or a signatory or not of the Rome statute.

Withdrawal as a method to avoid something to happen presupposes that the thing to withdraw has entered and is still inside. Otherwise what is to be withdrawn?

The Palace claims that the Philippines was from the beginning not a member of the International Criminal Court. If it is so then why did it pull the country out from that UN body?

There could be no other explanation, a self-serving one – to protect the skin of PRRD who has been charged in that body of committing a crime against humanity. His bright boys presumed that the withdrawal loses the ICC’s jurisdiction over the beleaguered tenant of Malacañang.

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If you borrow money from the bank, you have to abide with the loan terms of the bank, not on some terms you wish for. You either take it or leave it.

This is the situation we are in with our loans with China. The Philippines has no choice but to abide by China’s terms. It’s accordingly natural for China to do anything to secure its interest, like insisting some collateral for said loans, say the natural resources of the country, for the Chico River Project loan. And the Philippines, the borrower, can have it or leave it, said more or less the Palace communicator and legal adviser Salvador Panelo.

While this sounds logically correct, at this point we cannot simply decide to take it or leave it. The loan agreement had already been signed. If the Philippines has agreed with the terms without thinking, then it has to suffer the consequences for negligence. Unless, of course, on seeing the light, the Philippines unilaterally rescinds the loan agreement or withdraw from it before any fund is released. But this is wishful thinking. Duterte would never dare embarrass and sour his sweetheart relationship with China.

At any rate, China gets what it wants with or without the loans. In fact, it has already gobbled our national patrimony and grabbed our sovereign territory in West Philippines Sea and has in effect made our country its vassal state. The loan deals would simply become the official justification for it malicious deeds. China has already gone deep and would not anymore withdraw. A coitus interruptus is painful for a huge ego.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)

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