Lawyers have expressed opposition to Palace spokesman Harry Roque’s International Law Commission (ILC) bid, saying he was unfit to represent the rule of law given his “very poor” track record of defending human rights.

Roque on Monday said he was in New York to vie for a seat at the ILC, a United Nations (UN) body responsible for making recommendations that encourage “the progressive development of international law and its codification.”

ILC is composed of 34 members elected by the UN General Assembly every five years.

“Hahayaan ko na po ang mga estado sa daigdig na magdesisyon kung karapat-dapat ba ako na mahalal sa ILC pero ang kuwalipikasyon lang po, dapat eksperto po sa larangan ng international law,” Roque said in a Sept. 13 press briefing.

The executive committee of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman on Tuesday opposed Roque’s nomination to the body.

“Atty. Roque has a very poor track record of promoting, defending and fulfilling human rights and the rule of law, especially during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte in which he serves as a Cabinet member,” it said in a statement.

“His inclusion in the commission would not serve its purposes but instead diminish the reputation of the body,” it added.

Roque, who was nominated by the Duterte administration in June, cited his expertise in international law and teaching stint at UP as he defended his nomination on Monday.

Roque taught international law for 15 years in UP and served as director of the UP Institute of International Legal Studies and president of the Asian Society of International Law.

The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) also balked at Roque’s nomination.

“Roque does not possess the qualifications for a seat at the commission. While he has degrees in law and has taught public international law, he is a political partisan who has actively demonstrated contempt for the rule of law…and has undermined the supremacy of human rights and international law,” it said.

Like UP Diliman’s executive committee, the FLAG said Roque would “bring no honor to the post he seeks” and instead “tarnish [it] irreparably.” John Ezekiel J. Hirro and Elan Karsten Castañares