The social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the calls for the government to rejoin the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In a statement issued on November 29, Caritas Philippines underscored the importance of accountability and justice in addressing human rights concerns.
“The Philippine government has a responsibility to its citizens to uphold the rule of law and protect human rights,” said Fr. Antonio Labiao, executive director of Caritas Philippines.
The priest said rejoining the ICC “would send a strong message that the government is serious about accountability and justice for all”.
He added that it is indispensable in fostering transparency, fairness, and public trust in governmental institutions.
Caritas Philippines urged the government to heed the recommendations of the ICC, including the thorough and impartial investigation of all allegations of human rights abuses, the prosecution of those found responsible, and the provision of reparations to victims.
The organization called on Congress and the Supreme Court to exercise their check and balance power in favor of the Philippines’ rejoining the ICC.
“The legislative and judicial branches of government have a crucial role to play in ensuring that the Philippines upholds its international obligations and protects the rights of its citizens,” the statement read.
Fr. Labiao said the ICC’s recommendations are “a roadmap for the Philippines to address its human rights problems and build a more just and equitable society,” adding, “We urge the government to take these recommendations seriously and act upon them.”
Caritas Philippines urged the government to “listen to the voices” of civil society organizations, which it said, “play a vital role in advocating for human rights and promoting accountability”.
“Their insights and perspectives are essential to the process of rejoining the ICC and upholding human rights in the Philippines,” it added.