2022 Philippine senatorial race

After failed ILC bid, Harry Roque vies for Senate seat

Bea Cupin
After failed ILC bid, Harry Roque vies for Senate seat

SENATE BID. A file photo of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

RTVM screenshot

(2nd UPDATE) Harry Roque steps down as President Duterte's spokesperson

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque is running for the Senate following his failed bid to join the International Law Commission (ILC) and weeks after he missed the original deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the May 2022 polls. 

Roque filed his senatorial bid at the Commission on Elections headquarters in Intramuros, Manila, at around 2:25 pm on Monday, November 15.

In his final press briefing as presidential spokesperson, Roque announced earlier on Monday, “Babalik po tayo sa larangan ng pulitika, babalik po tayo sa Kongreso, sa Kamara ng Senado. Nagpaalam na tayo kay Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte at kay Mayor Sara Duterte.” (We will go back to politics, to Congress, in the Senate. I’ve already said goodbye to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Mayor Sara Duterte.)

Roque added he wanted to be true to his earlier word that if Sara runs, he will also run. Sara has earlier filed candidacy for Vice President. He ended the briefing with a video tribute to himself, concluded by an endorsement from Sara.

Minutes after Roque announced his 2022 plans, People’s Reform Party (PRP) Senate bet Paolo Mario Martelino withdrew his candidacy and indicated the outgoing Palace spokesman as his substitute.

Prior to finally confirming that he’d run for a Senate seat in 2022, the Palace spokesman had said he had not made a decision even after PRP itself said Roque would be part of its senatorial slate.

He said on October 17, or a week after the first COC filing deadline, that he would still confer with President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte. Sara has since filed her candidacy for vice president under Lakas-CMD. The President, meanwhile, is purportedly running for vice president as well. 

On November 4, after Bayan-USA and US-based human rights groups held a demonstration in the US to protest Roque’s bid to join the ILC, Roque said he “found resolve” to run in 2022. 

He eventually lost his high-profile bid to secure a seat at the ILC. His candidacy had been met by opposition from different lawyer groups and even his own high school alma matter.

A former human rights lawyer, Roque attempted to run for the Senate in 2019, but he backed out in February 2019 or just before the start of the official campaign period, citing health reasons. – Rappler.com 

Bea Cupin

Bea is a journalist.