Roque denies spending P1 million for New York cocktail party

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 04 2021 10:54 AM

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MANILA - Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday denied that the Philippines spent about P1 million for a cocktail party he attended in connection to his nomination to the International Law Commission.

Members of Bayan USA had gone to the upscale Manhattan restaurant Aretsky’s Patroon during the reception to oppose Roque's nomination to the international body. In a statement, the group called the gathering "lavish" and claimed that a party at the eatery could cost "at least 1 million."

"I can assure you, it is nowhere close to the amount that they claim of P1 million. I can assure you that if it were P1 million, I will be the one to object to it," Roque told ANC's Headstart

He said the cocktail party was "part and parcel of our diplomatic initiatives" because he was there as "a nominee of the Republic of the Philippines."

"It is not my personal job. It is a post that the Philippines is contesting and it is practice of all states with nominees to host these cocktail parties," he said.

The reception was "a very modest cocktail party because it was the cheapest way to have people come to your functions," he said.

Roque went to the US last week for an official visit to the United Nations "on the occasion of the UN international law week." He also went there in September for his nomination to the ILC.

His nomination to the UN advisory body has drawn opposition, including from a lawyers' group and the executive committee of the University of the Philippines Diliman, his alma mater, where he also taught law.