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Rejoining ICC needs thorough study – Escudero

SEN. Francis Escudero yesterday backed the decision of President Marcos Jr. to thoroughly study before making any decision on calls for the country to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC), more than four years after former President Rodrigo Duterte withdrew the country’s membership from the Rome Statute.

Escudero said the President made the right call when he refused to be stampeded into making a decision on the matter.

“Para sa akin tama iyong sinabi ng Pangulo na dapat ito ay pag-aralang mabuti dahil may mga pinasok tayong tratado na tayo naman ang nagbabayad palagi at tayo ang nagdurusa (For me, the President made the right decision when he said this should be thoroughly studied first since we have entered agreements before which did not really benefit us),” Escudero told radio DZBB.

Escudero cited as an example Manila’s accession to the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental organization that was established in 1989 on the Initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.

He said while the move was laudable at the time, it placed the country in a challenging path as the country was even blacklisted by the FATF.

“Katulad na lamang ng FATF, sumali tayo d’yan kaya tayo ang naba-blacklist. Ang Malaysia, hindi sumali kaya kahit anong gawin nila, hindi sila maba-blacklist (For example, we joined the FATF, but we were blacklisted. Malaysia did not join, so whatever it is doing, it cannot be blacklisted),” he said.

As of 2022, the FATF has retained the Philippines in its “gray list,” citing its alleged failure to resolve “strategic inadequacies in countering money laundering, terrorist and proliferation financing.”

He said this is the reason why returning to the ICC should be studied and reviewed well before any decision is made.

“Kaya itong ICC ay dapat pag-aralan din ng Pangulo. Ano nga ba ang mapapala ng ating bansa kung tayo ay muling papasok dito (That’s why the President should also carefully study the ICC. What are the benefits the country will gain if we rejoined the I?” he asked.

Escudero added that should Marcos decide to return to the ICC, the basis should be a product of a well-studied decision