Message of the Vice-President of the Philippines and Secretary of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the 14th Centenary Lecture delivered at the Supreme Court of the Philippines by the President of the International Progress Organization

 

REMARKS

OF THE HONORABLE TEOFISTO T. GUINGONA. JR.

VICE PRESIDENT AND SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

FOR THE OPENING OF THE

14TH SUPREME COURT CENTENARY LECTURE

 Supreme Court Session Hall

Tuesday, 12 March 2002, 2:00 p.m

 

HONORABLE HILARIO DAVIDE,

CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME  COURT:

HONORABLE ROILO GOLEZ,

            NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER:

DOCTOR PROFESSOR HANS KOECHLER,

               OUR ESTEEMED GUEST SPEAKER:

HONORABLE JUSTICE ARTEMIO PANGANIBAN,

              CHAIRMAN OF THE SUPREME COURT CENTENARY

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:

HONORABLE JUSTICE AMEURFINA MELENCIO HERERRA,

             CHANCELLOR OF THE PHILIPPINES JUDICIAL ACADEMY:

HONORABLE JUSTICES, JUDGES AND OFFICIALS OF THE JUDICIARY: EXCELLENCIES OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS:

DISTINGUISHED CO-WORKERS IN OTHER BRANCHES OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE:

ESTEEMED MEMBERS OF THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY:

RESPECTED MEMBERS OF CIVIL SOCIETY,

FRIENDS:

           I SINCERELY CONGRATULATE THE SUPREME COURT FOR ORGANIZING AN OUTSTANDING LECTURE SERIES AS PART OF ITS CENTENARY CELEBRATION. THIS INTIATIVE  REFLECTS THE INTELLECTUAL SERIOUSNESS AND HIGH MINDNESS OF OUR JUSTICES IN THE HIGHEST COURT OF THE LAND. I AM EDIFIED.

        WE OF THE  DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS  FEEL HONORED TO CO SPONSOR THIS AFTERNOON'S EVENT. ON BEHALF OF THE DEPARTMENT, I AM VERY  PLEASED TO WELCOME OUR GUEST SPEAKER,  DOCTOR  PROFESSOR HANS KOECHLER, CHAIRMAN OF THE INTERNATIONAL PROGRESS  ORGANIZATION. WE ALSO THANK YOU ALL  FOR COMING TO SHARE IDEAS ON THE SUBJECT:  " THE UNITED NATIONS, .INTERNATIONAL RULE OF LAW, AND TERRORISM."

        THE DRAFTING OF A COMPREHENSIVE  CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM IN THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY'S LEGAL COMMITTEE IS STALLED BY THE INABILITY OF MEMBERS TO DETERMINE WHAT CONSTITUTES AN ACT OF TERRORISM. IT MAY BE BETTER TO LOVE THAN TO KNOW  HOW  TO DEFINE LOVE. HOWEVER, IN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL CIRCLES, DEFINITIONS ENABLE  US TO CALL ACCURATELY A SPADE A SPADE.

           WE   HOPE THAT MEMBERS OF THE LEGAL COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, WHICH WILL RESUME WORK IN SEPTEMBER, SHALL HAVE ACHIEVED THEN AN INTERNATIONALLY ACCEPTABLE DEFINITION.

           AN EARLY DRAFT OF THE STATUTE FOR AN INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT PROPOSED TERRORISM   AS A CRIME WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THAT COURT. BUT THIS PROPOSAL NEVER SAW THE LIGHT  OF DAY IN THE ROME NEGOTIATIONS IN 1998. AS IT STANDS NOW, THE ROME STATUE   OF  THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL  COURT (ICC), AS  SIGNED BUT NOT YET RATIFIED BY THE PHILIPPINES, DOES NOT INCLUDE TERRORISM IN THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURT, OWING TO THE HIGHLY CONTENTIOUS NATURE OF THE  OF THE DEFINITIONAL PROBLEM, BUT ADVOCACY FOR INCLUDING TERRORISM IN ICC 'S JURISDICTIONS CONTINUES TO BE SUSTAINED BY THE POST SEPT 11 DEVELOPMENTS.

INDEED, TERRORISM IS A GLOBAL SCOURGE.  PRESIDENT ARROYO'S ADMINISTRATION IS EXERCISING ALL LEGAL OPTIONS TO ENSURE THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF OUR PEOPLE. THE PHILIPPINES HAS ALREADY SUBMITTED  A REPORT TO THIS COMMITTEE ON THE STEPS  WE HAVE TAKEN.

            ON  BEHALF OF THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT, I EXPRESS FERVENT HOPE THAT THIS LECTURE SERIES WILL HELP CONTRIBUTE TO A GREATER CONSENSUS ON FURTHER ACTIONS THAT WE MUST TAKE TO ELIMINATE THREATS TO OUR STABILITY AS A GOD-FEARING AND CIVILIZED, JUST AND COMPASSIONATE SOCIETY.

 MABUHAY !