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Harry Roque fails to get a seat at International Law Commission

By Camille Santiago Published Nov 13, 2021 10:50 am

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque lost his bid to secure a seat at the United Nation's (UN) International Law Commission (ILC), getting the least number of votes among candidates from the regional group.

Roque, a human rights lawyer, received only 87 out of 191 votes for his bid to be a member of ILC, a group of experts that help develop and form international law.

The Asia-Pacific States is allocated only 8 out of the 34 available seats in the commission, and these were given to the top candidates including India, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, China, South Korea, Cyprus, and Mongolia.

Aside from Philippines, Lebanon and Sri Lanka also failed to get a seat at the ILC.

Following the news, Roque said in a statement that his bid for the ILC "was a challenging campaign throughout."

"Unfortunately, we did not succeed," he said.

He continued to thank President Rodrigo Duterte for nominating him and his "unwavering support" of his candidacy. He also thanked his family, friends, and staff and colleagues from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippines' Permanent Misison to the United Nations for their continuing support.

"I wish the new members of the ILC success, especially as they tackle challenging issues such as rising sea levels and vaccine equality - issues which I will continue to advocate for as well," he added.

In September, members of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) opposed to Roque's ILC bid, calling him a hypocrite and "morally undeserving to be part of this august international legal organ."

"We respectfully dissent as a matter of principle against this hypocritical ambition of a fellow Filipino lawyer to reinvent himself, especially one supported by an administration widely disdained in the international community for its human rights violations and its fluctuating adherence and even regressive positions on vital international law and principles," said the NUPL.

"To elect him to the Commission is to diminish its respectability, mock its objectives and may taint its integrity," it added.

His alma mater, UP Diliman, also opposed to his candidacy, saying he has "a very poor track record" of defending human rights.