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Go cites need for PH judicial independence

SEN. Christopher «Bong» Go has emphasized the importance of the Philippines' judicial independence, particularly in light of possible International Criminal Court (ICC) interventions in the country's internal affairs.

In an interview on Thursday, November 30, during the break of the Bicameral Conference Committee on the General Appropriations Bill, Go referenced the affirmations of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and former president Rodrigo Duterte about their trust in the functionality of the Philippine judicial system.

SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go. Photo from Bong Go FB page

«First of all, former President Duterte has already spoken. The Philippine Government has withdrawn membership from the ICC. And President Bongbong Marcos said that we have a working judicial system in the Philippines,» he said.

He emphasized the strength of Philippine democracy, highlighting the country's leadership under a democratically elected president, contrasting it with nations typically scrutinized by the ICC, which are riddled with lawlessness, criminality and dictatorships.

The senator also cited remarks made by former Supreme Court Chief Justice, now Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, who said that «the Philippines already has a functioning justice institution and that the procedures are in place.»

Go stressed the importance of the international community respecting Philippine jurisdiction in its judicial matters.

«Filipinos should be judged only by fellow Filipinos before Philippine courts operating under Philippine laws. ICC has no right and business to meddle in our internal affairs where our courts remain fully operational,» he said.

In July this year, Marcos signaled an end to the Philippines' cooperation with the ICC regarding their probe into Duterte's war on drugs, noting that there were no pending appeals or actions, thereby concluding the country's dealings with the ICC.

On March 17, 2018, then-president Duterte notified the United Nations secretary-general of the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC. Under the provisions of the ICC treaty, the complete withdrawal took effect one year after the notification date.

Vice President Sara Duterte also reiterated her