POSTSCRIPT / September 16, 2021 / Thursday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Send Roque to ILC, not to the Senate

IT MIGHT be better to campaign for presidential spokesman Harry Roque’s membership in the International Law Commission in Geneva than to endure his continued presence here and give him a chance to grab a seat in the Senate.

But Roque’s ILC nomination is facing growing opposition in the Philippines, with the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers being the latest professional organization to voice its objection.

The NUPL said Roque is a known public interest lawyer who has become a “legal chameleon that uses legal-speak to spin reality and reinterprets established legal notions and principles to suit official political narratives.”

The Executive Committee of the University of the Philippines Diliman, composed of the chancellor, vice chancellors, deans, and directors also opposed his nomination, saying he has a “very poor track record” in promoting and defending human rights and the rule of law. And to think that Roque is a UP Law alumnus.

The Free Legal Assistance Group has written the ILC also opposing Roque’s nomination for being a “political partisan who actively demonstrates contempt for rule of law and has undermined the supremacy of human rights and international law.”

The group said Roque has defended extrajudicial killings committed by authorities amid the anti-drug war, as well as belittled the competence of the International Criminal Court in investigating these killings.

In its letter signed by its officials led by Jose Manuel Diokno, the group said: “(Roque’s) pronouncements have been made alternately with sneering contempt for the plight of victims or a callous attempt to justify the same with misplaced humor. He has used his knowledge of international law to undermine the protections that international law provides under a regime of human rights and rule of law.”

Roque is among 11 nominees from the Asia-Pacific region, alongside those from Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand, Cyprus, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, and Lebanon. Eight nationals from Asia-Pacific states will sit for five years in the panel beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

The ILC was instrumental in the creation of the International Criminal Court. It helped draft the Rome Statute that created the tribunal that tries genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.

Roque has been attacking the ICC since its former prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, decided to request judicial authorization to conduct a full investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity committed during the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

• ‘Pambansang Kamao’ vs ‘Son of God’

THIS is one epic battle no one should miss. Don’t blink as you watch the P100-million duel between senator-boxer Manny Pacquiao and religious sect leader Apollo Quiboloy.

“The Son of God” Quiboloy was sued for cyber libel Tuesday by “Pambansang Kamao” Pacquiao over the pastor’s comments on the senator’s alleged mishandling of P3.5 billion intended for the unfinished Sarangani Sports Training Center.

How would a prosecutor from Makati, and even a judge later, deal with the “Son of God”, aka “spiritual adviser of one Rodrigo Roa Duterte” who boasted one time of taming a deadly temblor that rocked Mindanao.

Pacquiao said in his 13-page complaint that Quiboloy should pay P100 million in damages “for using his power and influence to spread fake news and false information” about the senator. He said the P3.5 billion mentioned by Quiboloy is for a sports center in Bataan, not Sarangani.

“He used this deliberate falsehood to brainwash the public, recklessly propagating lies to blacken the image and reputation of an honest public servant,” he added. “He even had the audacity to quote the Holy Scripture in furtherance of his lies, misleading his flock and confusing the public, with the end in view of blackening another’s reputation.”

Before his recent bout with Cuban boxer Yordenis Ugas, a video clip was aired showing Pacquiao railing against the worsening corruption in the government. Of late, Duterte has been hypersensitive about the issue, especially on his ineffective responses to the pandemic.

Coming to Duterte’s defense, Quiboloy in his TV program on SMNI News Channel which he owns accused Pacquiao of misusing public funds in the building of the sports center in Sarangani, a district he once represented as a congressman.

* * *

FROM Twitter, meanwhile, we harvested samples of opinion on a variety of current issues:

Laurene II @RenHu2 – If Tito Sotto, Ping Lacson & Dick Gordon are real and they are what they say they are, they should put up and vote for a resolution to allow Sen. Leila de Lima to attend Senate sessions.

Deo Enalpe @deoenalpe_phl – I am calling on the Senate and Senate President Sotto to allow Sen. De Lima to participate in the Senate plenary sessions. Let De Lima exercise her right to perform the duties of her office. Malaki ang maitutulong ng senadora.

Liwanag sa Dilim @soi11_4 – Almost 20 typhoons a year tayo dito. Hanggang kailan ang rehab ng Dolomite beach?

@FDPascual – Like the waves crashing on the rocks, that Dolomite expense will be a recurring burden. Paano kung inanod ang Dolomite? E di lalong mabuti, o-order pa more. Mas malaking kita! Last 2 minutes na lang!

PhilSTAR news: ‘Pagbabawalan ko na yan’ –Duterte said he will require Cabinet members to secure his clearance before they can attend Senate inquiries to “limit” the senators to what they can do to the executive department.

Atty. Ted Te, a better lawyer than Duterte, says: The SC, in Senate v. Ermita, GR No. 169777 (2006), upheld the legislative power to summon officials to attend inquiries in aid of legislation and struck down EO 464 which requires the prior consent of the president before any such attendance may be compelled.

Ogie Rosa @ogie_rosa – Wala raw conflict of interest sa pag-award ng election logistics contract sa F2 Logistics, eh 3 executives ng F2 ang campaign funders ni Duterte: Dennis Uy, chairman, P30m; Efren Uy, president, P3.5m; Cherylyn Uy, treasurer, P1m. Walang conflict of interest, my foot.

Harry Roque, on Gordon’s stance that Red Cross can’t be audited by the government: Ang tanong ko lang naman po, kung walang itinatago, bakit ayaw magpa-audit?

@FDPascual – So bakit ayaw pakita ang mga SALN ni Duterte when their disclosure is required by law? Bakit ba takot na takot ipakita?

(First published in the Philippine STAR of September 16, 2021)

* * *

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