The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) did not mince words when they objected to Secretary Harry Roque’s nomination to the International Law Commission (ILC) — and, of course, they backed up their claims with evidence, as lawyers do.
FLAG, a nationwide group made up of human rights lawyers originally set up in 1974 to fight martial law, sent a hard-hitting letter to the ILC just after the presidential spokesperson confirmed that he had flown to New York City to seek one of 34 seats on the commission. The ILC is an advisory body to the United Nation made up of law experts from around the world that is tasked with helping write up international law. Needless to say, it’s a prominent position for any lawyer.
In the letter, posted on the group’s Facebook page, FLAG said that Roque “does not possess qualifications for a seat at the Commission” despite holding law degrees.
Furthermore, FLAG said that the presidential spokesperson was unworthy of a nomination, being “a political partisan who has actively demonstrated contempt for the rule of law” and “undermined the supremacy of human rights and international law”.
This was followed this with an annex of Roque’s public pronouncements, including his defense of extrajudicial killings, his remarks belittling the International Criminal Court (ICC), his public disregard of local human rights violations, and his sneering contempt and callous jokes about human rights victims.
Roque’s “patent lack of integrity and character” makes him “utterly unworthy to even seriously be considered as part of the International Law Commission”, FLAG’s statement read. “He will bring no honor to the post he seeks, instead he will tarnish the same irreparably”. Cue mic drop.
Signed by human rights lawyers Chel Diokno, who is Theodore Te, and FLAG’s regional coordinators around the country, a copy was also furnished to the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the Philippine Consulate in New York.
Yikes. Let’s see how the very outspoken spokesman tries to get out of this one.