Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon
MANILA, Philippines – The recent ruling of the Supreme Court on the petition against the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) showed that there are limitations to the president’s power with respect to foreign policy, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said on Wednesday.
Drilon issued the remark after the SC dismissed the petition questioning the validity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to pull out from the ICC.
“While the Supreme Court dismissed the petition questioning the validity of the Philippine government’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute for being moot and academic, the High Court acknowledged the limitations on the power of the President as the chief architect of foreign policy,” the senator said in a statement.
Drilon was among those who filed the petition along with other current and former senators Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV.
The SC, in a press statement on Tuesday, said the magistrates voted unanimously to dismiss the petition for being moot and academic.
The Philippines formally withdrew from the Rome of Statue, which established the ICC, in March 2019.
“The decision acknowledged that the President, as the primary architect of foreign policy, is subject to the Constitution and existing statutes,” the SC Public Information Office said.
“Therefore, the power of the President to withdraw unilaterally can be limited by the conditions for concurrence by the Senate or when there is an existing law which authorizes the negotiation of a treaty or international agreement or when there is a statute that implements an existing treaty,” it added.
For Drilon, the high court’s decision is “a clear recognition of the limitations of the power of the President with respect to foreign policy.”
“Most striking is the acknowledgment that the power of the President to withdraw ‘unilaterally’ can be subject to limitations by the Senate,” he said.
“It is a highly interesting decision and I will await the full text before I comment more extensively,” he added.
Malacañang earlier welcomed the SC decision.
Duterte ordered the country’s withdrawal from the ICC after it opened a preliminary examination on the ongoing drug war in the Philippines following reports of extrajudicial killings during police anti-narcotics operations.