UniTeam senatorial candidate Harry Roque has lambasted a rights organization with close ties to local groups declared as terrorists by western countries for its relentless character assassination of President Rodrigo Duterte and himself.
Roque, who has litigated human rights cases in Philippine and international courts, said he does not know which is more preposterous, his accusers or the accusation that he violated human rights.
“What alleged crimes against humanity did I exactly commit under domestic and international laws?” Roque asked the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP).
Roque, the first Asian admitted to practice before the International Criminal Court added : “I’m curious to hear from the legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).”
The CPP and NPA are considered foreign terrorist organizations by the United States, European Union, Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.
Roque challenged the rights coalition to legally support their imputation of crimes against humanity on him and the President or face the ramifications of their black propaganda.
Recently, Duterte urged the public to dismiss the party-list group Bayan Muna in the May elections. The group is part of the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), a founding member of the ICHRP.
“They have preposterously accused me as part of the government’s infrastructure of terror. On the contrary, they seem to be directly in cahoots with terrorist groups,” Roque said.
Roque said his record as a rights advocate in the legal profession, academe, legislature, and parliament of the streets would bear scrutiny.
“I can always defend my innocence in any court across the globe,” said Roque, who was admitted to practice before the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal for Rwanda in 2004.
The former presidential spokesman has secured convictions for the murderers of 19 journalists in the Maguindanao massacre and the American killer of LGBT member Jennifer Laude.
Roque represented the widows of Maguindanao massacre victims (Myrna Reblando et. al. vs. Republic of the Philippines). They filed the first-ever communication with the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights.
The former party-list congressman also brought the Adonis vs. Republic of the Philippines case before the United Nations Human Rights Committee and directly challenged the constitutionality of the Philippine libel law.
The Supreme Court also granted the first-ever Petition of Writ of Amparo given to a journalist in the Nilo Baculo, Sr. case that Roque represented.
Roque was lead counsel in the Isabelita Vinuya et. al. vs. Executive Secretary, which asked for compensation for Filipina sexual slaves or “comfort women” during World War II.
In the Ninez Cacho- Olivarez et. al. vs. Juan Miguel Arroyo, Roque represented the class-action suit on behalf of journalists against the First Gentleman’s indiscriminate filing of libel cases.
The ICHRP launched a Magnitsky sanctions campaign against Duterte, Roque, and 10 other officials. The sanctions range from travel bans and financial sanctions in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.