The Concerned Online Citizens (COC) emailed the International Law Commission (ILC) and each representative to the United Nations their letter of opposition to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s nomination to the ILC Thursday night.

The COC in their petition letter that there are more lawyers in the Philippines who are “more knowledgeable and more qualified” for the position than Roque.

“The Philippines has many lawyers specializing in human rights, public interest law, international humanitarian law and international law who are more knowledgeable and more qualified than Mr.Roque to be a member of the ILC. Unfortunately, they are all busy defending journalists, activists, widows, orphans, dissenters, peace negotiators, and their own lives from the wrath of President Rodrigo Duterte and his presidential spokesperson Mr. Roque,” says the COC.

Duterte nominated Roque last June to be part of the ILC from the Asia-Pacific region with a five-year term beginning on Jan 1, 2023, and will take place at the seventy-sixth session of the General Assembly in November 2021.

The COC noted that 65 lawyers were slain in the line of duty under Duterte’s watch and how the president and Roque have gone against a number of human rights and international law.

“Many of the 65 lawyers slain in the of duty under Mr. Duterte’s watch are arguably more qualified than Mr.Roque. They brilliantly and courageously practiced human rights and international law. Mr.Duterte and Mr.Roque violated and tampered with those laws.”

The COC then further brought to the attention that Roque is an “unapologetic defender of extrajudicial killings that have been brought before the International Criminal Court”, and continued to point out his gaslighting of victims and families of extrajudicial killing with regularity.

Roque was called out multiple times by fact checkers and watchdogs, saying that the president’s mouthpiece is the leading purveyor of disinformation and misinformation in the Philippines in his official capacity as presidential spokesperson and through his social media accounts, the COC said.

They reiterated that they oppose Mr.Roque’s nomination as they do not wish to see Roque use the ILC as a platform to promote himself.

“When Mr. Duterte and Mr. Roque finally leave office, they would most certainly be held accountable for their offenses and crimes against Philippine and international law. We don’t wish to see Mr. Roque use the ILC as a platform to promote and defend himself and his principal in future litigation.” the letter says.

As of Saturday morning, the petition to block Roque’s nomination has gathered almost 4,000 signatures and is still growing.

The online petition can be viewed here. – Joshua Babasa