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Roque slams UP officials for opposing his ILC bid


PALACE SPOKESMAN Herminio “Harry” L. Roque, Jr. on Wednesday slammed officials of the country’s premier state-run university for opposing his nomination to a United Nations body responsible for codifying international laws.

In a statement, Mr. Roque criticized the assessment of the University of the Philippines Diliman Executive Committee that he is unfit to have a seat in the International Law Commission (ILC), noting that the state university’s objection to his nomination is “politicized.”

The mouthpiece of President Rodrigo R. Duterte said it is “unfortunate” that some members of the UP community “would conveniently ignore and erase” his accomplishments and “years of hardwork” in the state university just because their “politics do not align.”

“It is very disheartening to have my nomination to the International Law Commission politicized, especially considering that the ILC itself is not a political body,” he added.

Mr. Roque, who has made statements supporting Mr. Duterte’s deadly war on drugs, reiterated that he has been an advocate of human rights and had spent most of his professional life “as a member of the civil society and as a public interest lawyer.”

“I wish to assure my former colleagues in UP that my commitment to human rights and the rule of law has not wavered,” the Palace spokesman said.

Aside from UP, two lawyers’ groups — the Free Legal Assistance Group and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers — have also expressed opposition to Mr. Roque’s bid.

Former International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on June 14 asked the court’s pre-trial chamber to open a probe into Mr. Duterte’s drug war that has killed thousands.

Mr. Roque had said that the Philippines will not cooperate with any potential probe by the ICC, saying it has no jurisdiction over the country after Manila’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute became effective in 2019.

The ICC, however, has said that the withdrawal would not affect its investigation.

Mr. Roque, who was nominated by the Philippine government in June, is among the 11 nominees from the Asia-Pacific region. Only eight of the nominees from the region will be elected.

The Palace official’s platforms include an accord on equal coronavirus vaccine access and a treaty that will recognize the permanent presence of states despite the effects of global warming. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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