The Philippine National Police (PNP) asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to respect the sovereignty of the Philippines and recognize its justice system, after the international court resumed the reopening of an inquiry into the country’s war on drugs.

“The PNP encourages the ICC to respect the Philippines’ sovereignty and acknowledge the capacity of the Philippines’ judicial system,” PNP chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said during a press briefing on Monday.

Azurin added that the Philippines has a strong and functioning justice system with active legal proceedings and remedies that address the claims of human rights abuses committed in implementing the anti-drug campaign of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

Meanwhile, Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile said that he will cause the arrest of ICC probers if they arrive in the country as he insisted that the ICC has no sovereign power over the Philippines.

“As the lawyer of the President, I will not allow, as far as I’m concerned, I will not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court of Justice. They have no sovereign power over us. If they will come here… If I were to be followed, I will cause their arrest,” Enrile told reporters.

In ICC’s decision to reopen the investigation, it said that the pre-trial chamber “is not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant investigations that would warrant a deferral of the court’s investigations.”

“The various domestic initiatives and proceedings, assessed collectively, do not amount to tangible, concrete and progressive investigative steps,” it said.


Ronald Espartinez