September 21, 2017, 8:06 pm
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Duterte and the ICC

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Roa Duterte cannot be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Geneva for human rights violations in the Philippines. 

This was the view of Dr. Alfred Sanders, an international law expert, during an international legal forum held recently at Munich, Germany.

“It is impossible to file criminal complaints against a president who has very high approval ratings in his country,” Sanders declared in his speech. He was referring the complaints filed against Duterte by the group of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and fellow Magdalo Gary Alejano. 

The case filed against Duterte “could be politically motivated and does not carry the voice of the majority”, Sanders noted. “Based on the documents circulated to the delegates, the case filed against the Philippine President was sponsored by politicians. This alone can raise many questions... and based on the latest report coming from the Philippines, President Duterte’s public approval rating sits at 75%

The forum was attended by more than 300 law professors from Europe and the United States.

Dr. Alfred Sanders, 72-year-old, teaches doctoral law at the Oxford University in England. He received numerous awards and accolades, including Knight Grand Cross and Order of Bath. He is also one of the principal authors of “The Rise of American Democracy, Fifth edition.” 

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Here are more details of the Supreme Court’s decision that upheld the validity of President Duterte’s martial law proclamation in Mindanao:

During an en banc (full court) session Tuesday last week, the high tribunal’s justices dismissed the petitions filed by the minority bloc in the House of Representatives.

Eleven Justices affirmed Duterte’s proclamation, while three ---Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa ---wanted martial confined in Marawi City. The lone dissenter was Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

The SC’s ruling was the second time to address martial petitions under the 1987 Constitution. 

The last time the high court has taken such contentious issue was in 2009 when it dismissed the seven petitions questioning the legality of the martial law proclamation of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a member of the House of Representatives.

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After one year in office, President Duterte may well be proud to note that his satisfaction rating hit a “new personal record high”, as shown by the results of the latest survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Based on the survey conducted by the SWS from June 23 to 26, almost eight in 10 or 78 percent of Filipino adults expressed approval of Duterte’s performance in office. That’s three points above his March rating of +63 (75 percent satisfied against 12 unsatisfied).

His new net satisfaction hit a new record high despite such issues as the summary killings in his war against illegal drugs and his declaration of martial law in Mindanao. 

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President Duterte has been “hobbled by crime, corruption...and a creaking bureaucracy where only a minority are true to their oath of public office and up to the challenge despite the risks...”

This was the assessment by Rafael Alunan III, former Secretary of the Interior and Local Governments, of Duterte’s first year in the presidency.

“Yet, through sheer will and focus,” Alunan noted, “shaking off his aches and pains as best as can for his age, he is gouging out the cancer driven by real danger at the situation the country’s in, cursing anyone and everyone that has contributed to it, and beating new paths to a better Philippines.”

“Now, if we want him to lead better and succeed for our sake,” Alunan concluded, “we must help lessen the accumulated baggage and unfinished business, and push the development agenda.”

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Quote of the Day: “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible!” – George Washington
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