When the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Russian leader Vladimir Putin for kidnapping thousands of children in eastern Ukraine and sending them to his country, his security official threatened to hit the court with hypersonic missiles.

Russia is not a member of the ICC. It was never a part of the international body in the past. Putin’s officials courageously challenged The Hague to effect an arrest and indict the Russian leader.

Filipino officials need not go as far as threatening the ICC. With what? It has no leverage against the ICC.

In fact, the Philippine government is duty-bound to cooperate with the investigation because it was once part of the Rome Statute that created the ICC.

Before the Philippines decided to quit the ICC, it had an international obligation to cooperate in the investigation of systematic extrajudicial killings under the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.

The Philippines is not under investigation. The ICC was running after the leader of the previous administration who led the war on drugs policy. It was not after lowly police officers who carried out the killings but the people who planned and ordered the carnage.

The government, through the Philippine National Police (PNP), acknowledged that more than 6,000 people died in the war on drugs.

All these drug users, couriers, street-level peddlers, and traffickers resisted arrest and tried to fight back undercover police officers.

There could be more victims – those found in isolated and remote vacant spaces with masking tape wrapped around their heads and with placards saying they were drug peddlers.

Human rights advocates estimated that the victims in the Duterte government’s war on drugs could be as high as 30,000 people, mostly from poor communities in highly urbanized cities and towns.

It is quite unfathomable why Ferdinand Marcos Jr decided to disengage from the ICC after the Philippine government’s appeal to suspend the investigation on the war on drugs was rejected.

Administration officials and some lawmakers insisted the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines and its effort to run after Duterte was a violation of the country’s sovereignty.

Duterte’s staunch allies, including former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, have proposed a resolution to protect the former leader.

Sen. Ronald de la Rosa, who was Duterte’s former national police chief, was holding on to a promise from Marcos that he will protect him from the ICC.

In reality, Duterte, de la Rosa and other officials under investigation by the ICC were worried and concerned an arrest warrant would soon be issued against them.

If the ICC can order Putin’s arrest even if Russia has never been a member of the Rome Statute, there are higher chances Duterte, de la Rosa and other administration officials will face arrest.

After all, the Philippines was part of the Rome Statute before it quit and the ICC was investigating drug war killings during the period when the Philippines was still a member of the Rome Statute.

The analogy is simple. The local court can hear complaints against an offender when the crime committed was still covered by the penal laws.

But when a certain law is repealed, there can be no criminal or civil offense.

There is no escape from the ICC. Even the Supreme Court ruled that the Philippines has to cooperate with the ICC on the cases that happened when the country was still an ICC member.

The statements made by the Marcos administration officials and some lawmakers were simply bravado.

They wanted Filipinos to believe they were beyond reach by the international court. It appears to be that way.

As long as they do not travel to any country that is obliged to carry out the ICC’s order, they are safe. However, their assets abroad are not safe.

De la Rosa, in an interview with journalists, said he was preparing for a possible case in the ICC. However, he said he would remain safe as long as he stayed in the country.

Duterte, de la Rosa and the rest of the administration officials who carried out the drug war should brace themselves for the ICC’s decision in the month’s ahead.

At the Summit for Democracy , Marcos Jr promised to uphold human rights, rule of law, and governance to stay on the path of democracy.

But his promises amounted to nothing as the Philippines refused to acknowledge the ICC’s role in a functioning democracy.

Marcos Jr said the justice system works in the country but only two cases out of thousands of drug war killings had resulted in conviction of some police officers.

The leaders behind the war on drugs campaign remained untouched. The state refused to hold them accountable.

If Marcos Jr truly wanted his government to become part of the democratic world, he should abandon his political alliance with the Dutertes.

This has kept him from ending impunity and pursuing a more humane approach to combat the drug menace, treating it as a health problem rather than a security threat.

Marcos Jr must walk the talk if he really values democracy, rule of law, and human rights.