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Bureau of Immigration: No entry ban on ICC probers

MANILA, Philippines — Unless they are blacklisted by the courts or deemed as undesirable aliens, investigators from the International Criminal Court (ICC) looking into the conduct of the war on drugs under Rodrigo Duterte are free to enter the country.

Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval made this clear yesterday when asked at a press briefing if the BI had received any instructions from President Marcos to prevent ICC investigators from entering the country.

“If there’s a court order or they are ordered blacklisted for being undesirable aliens, if they fall under that category then we will implement the order, but other than that, there’s no directive,” Sandoval said in Filipino and English.

“We won’t be able to implement anything” if visiting ICC probers are not seen as threats or undesirable aliens, she added.

Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra also said ICC investigators are still allowed to enter the country.

“From my point of view, for as long as there will be no legal activities to be conducted here, that they have the proper travel documents, I do not see any reason why they should be prevented from coming in because they are going to interview certain persons, gather certain documents,” he said in an interview with CNN.

But he stressed the BI and the Department of Justice ultimately have the discretion under the law to “admit or not admit a certain person who they may consider as undesirable.” The DOJ has jurisdiction over the BI.

Last July, the ICC appeals chamber confirmed the ICC prosecutor’s resumption of the investigation on Duterte’s possible culpability for crimes against humanity for ordering or allowing the execution of thousands of suspected drug offenders and other criminals when he was mayor of Davao City and as president from 2016 to 2022.

Official estimates put the number of deaths at more than 6,000, but some groups said Duterte’s bloody anti-drug campaign may have killed more than 20,000.

In an interview yesterday, Guevarra reiterated that the government has no “legal duty or legal obligation” to cooperate with the ICC in its investigation on the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

“The matter of cooperation is a