Roque once thanked Aquino for PH membership in Int'l Criminal Court

MANILA, Philippines – When the Philippines ratified its membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2011, one of the first people who lauded this move was Harry Roque, best known back then as a human rights lawyer. 

Now the mouthpiece of President Rodrigo Duterte, Roque in 2011 even thanked then President Benigno Aquino III for the Philippines' membership in the ICC.

Roque was former co-chairperson of the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court. He had pushed the Philippines to ratify the Rome Statute.  

Duterte, however, declared on Wednesday, March 14, that the Philippines is withdrawing from the ICC "effective immediately." Duterte said the Philippines was deceived when it signed the same statute that Roque pushed for.

What Roque wrote on his blog on August 25, 2011: 

"To be candid, I never thought that membership in the ICC was possible, at least before I become geriatric. This is because of the many atrocities under both the Marcos and Arroyo regimes that remain unpunished. Well, it's always a pleasure to be proven wrong. Here, credit should go to both the Senate and to President Benigno Aquino III. It was the latter who reversed the Arroyo policy of rejecting the ICC as a means of ending impunity."

What Roque said in another blog post on September 23, 2011:

"As I ponder on the future of the Philippines as the latest member of the ICC, I look back to the 11 long years that took the Philippine Coalition for the ICC to finally convince the Philippines to be a member of the Court with melancholy and pride. Surely, though, we cannot afford to sit long on our laurels as the path ahead remains long and winding. Be as it may, the message has been sent: no more impunity!"

Nearly 7 years later, Roque is working for a man who himself is accused of impunity. –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at