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Roque hits UP officials for opposing his nomination to UN body



Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday hit back at officials of the University of the Philippines Diliman for opposing his nomination to a United Nations advisory body, saying they “conveniently ignore and erase” his accomplishments due to their differences in politics.

While he respects the opinion of the UP Diliman’s executive committee, Roque said it was “disheartening” that his nomination to the International Law Commission has been “policitized.”

“I respect the right of the committee and its members to proffer their opinion on my candidacy and I understand that my actions, especially in accepting a Cabinet post as spokesperson to the President will not please everyone,” the Palace official said through a statement.

“However, the flimsy justification made to object to my nomination and election to the International Law Commission makes it clear that there are some sectors who will do everything to besmirch my good name, reputation and integrity simply because I do not subscribe to and share their same political beliefs,” said Roque, who taught at the UP College of Law for 15 years.

Roque rejected claims that he has a “poor track record” in defending human rights and the rule of law, noting that he had served as counsel of families of the Ampatuan massacre victims, Panatag Shoal fishermen, comfort women of World War II, the kin of slain transwoman Jennifer Laude, among others.

“For over 30 years, I have been an advocate of human rights, having spent most of my professional life as a member of civil society and as a public interest lawyer representing persons and sectors who have needed to be championed,” he said.

“My curriculum vitae speaks for itself regarding my credentials in the field of public international law,” Roque added.

The UP Diliman Executive Committee — composed of the chancellor, vice chancellors, deans and directors of the colleges and schools, university registrar, and three members-at-large elected by the university council — opposed Roque’s election to the ILC, saying the Cabinet member would only diminish the reputation of the UN advisory body.

Roque is in New York City for his ILC bid. He is gunning to be one of the eight Asia-Pacific nationals in the 34-member ILC, which has been working on the “promotion of the progressive development of international law and its codification.”

Among his platforms include the proposed treaty on Covid-19 vaccine accessibility and the need for nations to recognize the states which would possibly be sunk in seawaters due to global warming.

Should he be selected, he would serve a five-year term starting January 2023.