Harry Roque

Roque loses bid for seat at International Law Commission

Rappler
Roque loses bid for seat at International Law Commission

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON. Harry Roque Jr. shares his remarks to President Rodrigo Duterte during the meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases core members at the Malacañang Golf Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on August 24, 2021.

PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

(1st UPDATE) 'My candidature at the ILC was a challenging campaign throughout but we met it head on. Unfortunately, we did not succeed,' the Duterte spokesperson says shortly after the election

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque failed to secure a seat at the United Nations (UN) International Law Commission (ILC) on Saturday, November 13.

During Saturday’s election of ILC members at a UN General Assembly plenary meeting, Roque received the least number of votes among candidates from Asia-Pacific States, getting just 87 out of the 191 valid ballots. The regional group is allocated only 8 out of the 34 available seats in the commission.

With 191 voters, 2 invalid ballots, and 0 abstentions, the voting for the Asia-Pacific States went as follows:

  • Bimal Patel (India) – 163
  • Vilawan Mangklatanakul (Thailand) – 162
  • Masahiko Asada (Japan) – 154
  • Nguyen Hong Thao (Vietnam) – 145
  • Huang Huikang (China) – 142
  • Lee Keun-gwan (Republic of Korea) – 140
  • Andreas Mavroyiannis (Cyprus) – 139
  • Tsend Munkh-Orgil (Mongolia) – 123
  • Nassib Ziadé (Lebanon) – 119
  • Mohan Pieris (Sri Lanka) – 112
  • Harry Roque (Philippines) – 87

This means the candidates from India, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, China, Republic of Korea, Cyprus, and Mongolia will occupy the eight Asia-Pacific seats. Their five-year term will begin on January 1, 2023.

“My candidature at the ILC was a challenging campaign throughout but we met it head on. Unfortunately, we did not succeed,” Roque said in a statement released shortly after the election.

He thanked President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippines’ Permanent Mission to the United Nation, his staff, family, and friends for supporting his bid for the ILC post.

“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.”

Individuals, groups, and even institutions have opposed Roque’s bid to be elected to the UN body. The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers had said the presidential spokesperson – a former human rights lawyer – was “morally undeserving to be part of this august international legal organ.”

The NUPL welcomed the development, saying, “Without deriving any pleasure over it,  it is still with enormous comfort  that we meet the non-election of Harry to the ILC.”

“We welcome the very telling vote of the UN on the heels of  the strong protests and opposition of his own peers and people.  This could be seen as a ringing thumbs down for  his principal as well,” said NUPL president Edre Olalia.

Olalia said that the NUPL, in reference to Roque’s ILC bid, had “underscored that in the selected competency is best complemented by consistency, credibility and character, if not modesty.”

“While ordinarily, a compatriot who takes a shot at the Olympics, the Nobel Peace Prize, and even international beauty pageants is propped up with all the support needed,  the same generosity is hard to gift his controversial candidacy,” he said.

ILC is a UN body that helps in forming rules and legal norms to be adopted by UN member states. Being an ILC member is considered a prestigious post among international law scholars. – Rappler.com