MANILA – Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Thursday denied any political motive behind the complaint filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Carpio-Morales said the complaint she filed along with Filipino fishermen and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario before the ICC aims to demand accountability from China.
"Hindi ho totoo 'yun, finile namin 'yung kaso to demand accountability at saka gusto namin ihinto 'yung pagpapalipit nila sa ating fishermen. Hindi naman natin pwedeng palusutin ang pang-aapi sa kanila," she told radio DZMM.
(That's not true, we filed the case to demand accountability and to stop [China's] repression of our fishermen. We cannot let them get away with oppressing fishermen.]
"We are demanding individual criminal responsibility against the President of China."
The former Ombudsman's comments came after Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the complaint was a "political statement more than a legal action."
Carpio-Morales also refuted Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo's claim that the ICC has no jurisdiction over China because it is not a member of the international body.
"Hindi po kailangan miyembro ng ICC ang China. Ang importante ay 'yung kaso ay nangyari sa Pilipinas," she said.
(China doesn't have to be a member of the ICC. The important thing is the case happened in the Philippines.)
"Nangyari ang krimen sa mismong teritoryo ng Pilipinas nung miyembro pa tayo ng ICC."
(The crime happened in Philippine territory when we were still a member of the ICC.)
Carpio, Del Rosario, and the Filipino fishermen filed the communication to the ICC on March 13, a few days before the Philippines effectively withdrew from the international body on March 17.
In their complaint, the group said Xi and other Chinese officials committed crimes against humanity in implementing Beijing's "systematic plan to control the South China Sea."
The ICC, which received the communication on March 15, has jurisdiction over crimes committed during the period the Philippines was a member of the international body from Nov. 1, 2011 to March 17, 2019.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the country's withdrawal from the tribunal after it initiated na examination into alleged crimes against humanity under his drug war.