Friday, March 23, 2018

ICC to use force to investigate PH gov't, will not let go of Pres. Duterte

ICC will not give up. Not this time.
ICC Judges | Photo CTTO

Recently, the Presidential Spokesperson himself Harry Roque said before the press that the International Criminal Court (ICC) would not get any cooperation from Manila no matter how insistent it is to proceed with an announced “preliminary examination.”

This, after the ICC's Assembly of States President O-Gon Kwon has declared that he is “ready to fly to Manila to be involved in any dialogue with any authorities” as well as “to plead with the Philippine people to reconsider” the administration's withdrawal of the country the from the institution that has been established by the treaty of the Rome Statute, the ICC. 

In an interview on Thursday, March 22, with the Bloomberg TV Philippines’ “The Big Story”, the Assembly of States President was the guest of its anchor Roby Alampay.
ICC's Assembly of States President O-Gon Kwon | Photo CTTO

On the said news program, it can be noticed that O-Gon Kwon tends to avoid some questions when it comes to the institutions way of moving forward, or do they even have a choice, in case the country does not cooperate, given that the Malacañang Palace has already stated in one of its interviews, that their cooperation with the ICC should not be expected .

Nonetheless, Kwon insists that he is “ready to fly to Manila” as part of the international body’s endeavor in attempt to reclaim the trust of the Philippine government that impartiality and due process will be the premise of the ICC’s investigation.

“There are a lot of points that I can discuss with my friends in the Philippines,” Kwon told Roby Alampay of the “The Big Story”.

“With all due respect to Mr. (Harry) Roque and his Excellency President (Rodrigo) Duterte, in my humble opinion there seems to be some kind of misinformation as to the nature of the preliminary examination or complementarity, and the date on which the withdrawal will take effect,” Kwon added.
ICC's President Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi | Photo CTTO

The Assembly of States President was referring to the previous announcement made by the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

According to the ICC Prosecutor, her office is set to start with a “preliminary examination” of the Philippine situation in the wake of the complaints anent supposed extrajudicial killings, while stressing that the so-called “preliminary examination” is not an actual investigation.

Trying to clarify things out, Kwon stated that a preliminary examination “does not mean that the court has decided to have the jurisdiction over the situation of Philippines.”

Adding that “nor does it mean that it is, that the court has decided guilt or innocence at all. The pre-trial examination is a process in which the prosecutor considers whether there is (enough) information to proceed with the investigation, proper investigation. In such a case, still she needs authorization from the pre-trial chamber that consists of three judges”.
The ICC | Photo CTTO

The ICC official also made an emphasis on the principle of complementarity, saying that it is “one of the most important pillars of the ICC”.

“If the national domestic jurisdiction is able and willing to prosecute and address the alleged crime, there is no room for the International Criminal Court to intervene. So if the alleged crime is genuinely addressed by the national jurisdiction, then the ICC is not, will not proceed with [investigating] the crimes anymore,” Kwon explained.

When the “The Big Story” anchor  Roby Alampay asked if there would still be an examination should the Philippine government happens to refuse in cooperating, Kwon replied, “There is no time limit on the part of the preliminary examination, so I take it the prosecutor will endeavor in trying to get the sufficient information to make her decision whether or not to proceed with the information”.
ICC Building | Photo CTTO

Due to the court's protocol — of which the signatories were made aware of upon joining — that it would take a year before the withdrawal finally takes effect once a member decides to cut ties from it, Kwon said there is 'ample time' for the Filipino public to think about it.

In the event that an examination gets the chance to run its course, Kwon stated that since the withdrawal of the country is going to take effect after a year from the date of the notification to the United Nations, if and only if the ICC official has been allowed to continue with its investigation in a span of one year, the withdrawal will then be nullified.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and the ICC logo | Photo CTTO
“If by any chance the prosecutor is able to get the authorization to proceed with the investigation in a year’s time, then this withdrawal has no effect at all.”, Kwon said.

Watch the video of the interview below:

Source: InterAksyon

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Yari ka! Pres. Duterte holds evidence of Loida Lewis' connivance with the ICC

Loida Lewis is back!
Loida Lewis | Photo CTTO

Filipino-American philanthropist Loida Lewis has the means to connive with the International Criminal Court (ICC), says Malacañang in a press conference on Thursday, March 22.

This, after President Rodrigo Duterte earlier accused Lewis of doing such.

According to the Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Loida Nicolas-Lewis, who is known as a Fil-Am community leader, is capable of doing a conspiracy with the international court based in the Hague to file charges against the President for crimes against humanity for the reason that "she’s rich."

The statement of the Malacañang Palace was made shortly after Pres. Duterte recently threatened to release a transcript of a wiretapped phone conversation concerning the preliminary examination to be performed by the ICC into the country's bloody war on drugs. Reportedly, the preliminary examination is not yet an investigation.

The said conversation allegedly involved Lewis, whom the President mistakenly referred to as 'Loida Reyes'.
Loida Lewis | Photo CTTO

Reluctant to provide any further details, Pres. Duterte only added that the transcript was given to him by "some countries".

On the other hand, the Fil-Am Duterte critic strongly denied the President's accusation.

When Roque was asked if he has further information regarding the allegedly tapped phone call, the presidential spokesperson said that while he has no additional details about the data that the President received, he said he cannot disregard the possibility that Lewis could have really had a hand in the examination of the International Criminal Court into the administration's war against illegal drugs.

He added that "The ICC accepts donations from private persons and organizations and I do know that particularly on the reparation fund... the ICC welcomes donations from everyone".

It was only last week when the president announced that he is going to withdraw the Philippines from the founding treaty of ICC, Rome Statute. Soon after the court announced that it would conduct a preliminary examination into a communication filed by a Filipino lawyer accusing him of crimes against humanity.
Loida Lewis | Photo CTTO

The Philippines’ permanent representative to the UN, Teodoro 'Teddy' Locsin, was the one who sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres informing him of the government's decision of withdrawal from the ICC as one of its members.

Apart from the anti-Duterte Fil-Am, Pres. Duterte also said that he has information against ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. This is because supposedly, her phone was also tapped.

Suspicious, Pres. Duterte doubts Fatou Bensouda's ability to handle the drug war case as the ICC prosecutor specializes in maritime law.

Reports says 'Bensouda holds a masters degree in International Maritime Law and Law of The Sea and is the first international maritime law expert of The Gambia. She was also previously Justice minister of The Gambia'.

Meanwhile, the ICC mentioned on its public website that "Prior to her work at the International Criminal Court, Ms Bensouda worked as legal adviser and trial attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, rising to the position of senior legal advisor and head of the Legal Advisory Unit".

It also added that "She has served as delegate to United Nations conferences on crime prevention, the Organization of African Unity's Ministerial Meetings on Human Rights, and as delegate of The Gambia to the meetings of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court".
Loida Lewis and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte | Photo CTTO

Source: Philstar

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Most Improved! NAIA ranks 10th in a global survey

Another good news!

A recent global survey finally changes the image of what was once a terrible and controversial airport. This, after a London-based research firm awarded the main airport of the country's hub redeeming the airport's reputation.

In a recent global survey of Skytrax, a research firm based in London, NAIA or the Ninoy Aquino International Airport has been named as one of the world’s “most improved” airports in 2018.

With actual travelers all over the world as its real respondents, the airport that was then ranked as one of the world's worst airport now ranked 10th place in Top 10 World’s Most Improved Airports, Skytrax survey showed.

Along with Ninoy Aquino International Airport are other countries mostly located at the western side of the globe.

Topping the list was Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy. Next to it was Perth Airport in Western Australia and then followed by Calgary International Airport in Alberta, Canada.

The Skytrax’s World Airport Awards website says the award was “based on the relative year-on-year Quality performance by all airports featured in the World Airport Survey, and takes into account the change in rating together with performance changes across the different product and service categories in the awards.”

Reportedly, there was more than 13 million travelers from over a hundred different nationalities around the world who participated in the survey of the London-based research firm.

The Skytrax website also stated that “The survey operated from August 2017 to February 2018, covering 550 airports worldwide and evaluating traveller experiences across different airport service and product key performance indicators – from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration through to departure at the gate. The Survey was available in English, Spanish and Chinese language options”.

It can be recalled that during the time of the former President Noynoy Aquino, the country was put into shame after the 'laglag-bala' scam thrived and corrupted a lot of passengers from different parts of the world. Thus, gave the Philippines a bad name due to the disappointment of both the local and foreign travelers brought by such scandal.

Soon after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte came to power, the controversial airport was removed from the world's worst airport list year 2017 based in the travel website The Guide to Sleeping in Airports prior being one of the most improved airports this year as released by another survey firm, Skytrax.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte | Photo CTTO

Source: Inquirer

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Nagparinig? Pres. Duterte to Leni: I love to see my Vice President

President Duterte did it again!
Photo CTTO

On Wednesday, March 21, President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo shared the same stage at the graduation exercises of the Philippine National Police Academy’s Maragtas Class of 2018 in Silang, Cavite.

The two of the country's top leaders shared the same stage for the third time this week. 

It was last Sunday at the Philippine Military Academy's commencement exercises in Baguio City  when President Duterte and Vice President Robredo first shared the same stage this week. The second was on Tuesday at the 121st founding anniversary celebration of the Philippine Army in Taguig City.

“This is the third time I greeted you, my lady,” the President told VP Robredo.

“Sana po may graduation pang iba para magkita pa rin tayo”, Pres. Duterte added.

During the 121st founding anniversary celebration of the Philippine Army, the President apologized at the beginning of his speech for being late at the event. This is because according to him, he slept late after a 13-hour long meeting with his Cabinet officials yesterday that started at around 2 p.m.
Photo CTTO

After the country's Commander-in-chief apologized, President Rodrigo Duterte threw a joke to Vice President Leni Robredo.

Speaking to the Vice President, who was one of the high-profile guests at the Philippine Army anniversary celebration in Taguig City, Pres. Duterte told Robredo, “Natapos ho kami Ma’am ng three, ang pinag-usapan namin ikaw”.

On their meeting last Sunday at the Philippine Military Academy graduation, Duterte told Robredo that they are friends.

It can be recalled that the Vice President herself was once part of the Duterte Cabinet where she served as the housing czar under Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). She later resigned from her post in December 2016 after some disagreements with the policy of the President.

Currently, VP Robredo is in the midst of battling an election protest filed against her by the former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Photo CTTO

Sources: ABS-CBN News 1 ABS-CBN News 2

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

ICC will do everything to win back Duterte

International Criminal Court official said he is willing to fly to Manila to talk with the Duterte administration.
President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute O-Gon Kwon | Photo CTTO

In an interview, the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, O-Gon Kwon, sounded — not just open but — very much willing to have a talk with with the Philippines' government officials following the country's withdrawal from the Rome Statute.

Speaking with Tina Palma and Tony Velasquez on ANC's The World Tonight Monday, the president of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute emphasized his call for Manila to remain a member of the ICC.

This, despite of the Pres. Duterte's call for mass withdrawal to other countries that are associated with the The Hague-based tribunal.

Also the head of the International Criminal Court's management oversight and legislative body, O-Gon Kwon, said he is willing to fly out to the Philippines to engage with the authorities or government officials in a dialogue. Even though President Rodrigo Duterte has already decided to withdraw the country from the global tribunal.
ICC Building | Photo CTTO

According to Kwon, the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC would prevent the international court to live by with its mission: to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"One thing I can add is I'm ready to fly to Manila to engage in dialogue with any authorities of the Philippines' government, and have open debate, if feasible and necessary, any time," Kwon said.

He also said that the withdrawal of the Philippines' from the said institution would paint a negative impact to the "global efforts to fight impunity."

Asked what his impression is regarding the President's call for the other country's withdrawal, the ICC official said "I find it regrettable if the Philippines does indeed withdraw from Rome Statute because it will impact negatively on the global efforts to fight impunity for the most serious crimes, to prevent atrocities and bring justice to the victims".
The ICC | Photo CTTO

Pres. Duterte recently said he would urge other signatories to the Rome Statute to get out of the agreement and called it disrespectful.

However, reportedly, the Spokesperson of the President, Harry Roque, believes it is too late for such negotiations - referring to Kwon's attempt to have a talk with the Philippine officials.

In a statement, Roque said "Too late the hero. Let him talk to that prosecutor".

Pressed for more details, the spokesperson said he will be able to discuss more about Kwon's pronouncements on his upcoming press briefing on Tuesday .

It can be remembered that it was only last week when Pres. Duterte announced it's intent on the country's move towards the ICC exit which eventually, has launched a preliminary examination on his war against drugs.
Pres. Duterte and the ICC logo | Photo CTTO

The International Criminal Court has started a preliminary examination on the charges filed by lawyer the Filipino lawyer. The case filed by Jude Sabio against the President was in relation to the Duterte administration's campaign against illegal drugs.

The former Davao City Mayor later officially announced the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC.

Last Friday, the global tribunal released a statement in response to Pres. Duterte's announcement.  In the statement was the International Criminal Court's call for the Philippines not to push with its plan to withdraw its ratification of the treaty that made the institution.
The ICC logo | Photo CTTO

Source: ABS-CBN News

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