MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman on Tuesday said he would refuse to listen to criticism against his nomination to the International Law Commission.
Some 150 lawyers wrote to more than 190 United Nations member-states this week to oppose the nomination of Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque ahead of the scheduled vote on Friday.
They cited his previous defense of the President's statements allegedly enabling killings, attacks on the rule of law, and poor pandemic response, among others.
But Roque said the group represents "0.001 percent" of the Philippines' around 78,000 lawyers. He said the group was "noisy" because it included lawyers who lost in the 2019 Senate elections and longtime critics of the Duterte administration.
"Kasama po talaga ito sa ingay sa pulitika at asahan ninyo na lalo pang lalakas ang political noise. Maghahanda na lang po tayo ng bulak para takpan ang ating mga tenga," he said in a press briefing.
(This is part of political noise and expect that this will get louder. We will just prepare cotton to cover our ears.)
Roque rejected his alleged "guilt by association" to Duterte, whose anti-narcotics drive is being investigated by the International Criminal Court for thousands of killings.
"There is no such thing as guilt by association. Pangalawa po, wala pa pong napatunayang krimen laban sa Presidente," he said.
(Second, no crime has been proven against the President.)
"Meron po tayong tinatawag na due process at presumption of innocence at nakakabahala naman na meron tayong 152 abogado na para bagang binalewala ang right to due process ng Presidente at ang presumption of innocence," added Duterte's spokesman.
(We have so-called due process and presumption of innocence, and it is worrying that we have 152 lawyers who seem to have discarded the President's right to due process and presumption of innocence.)
He said he was confident that UN member-states would scrutinize the qualifications of ILC nominees, including their capacity as international law experts.
"Tatanggapin ko po ang husga ng mga iba’t ibang estado ng buong mundo pagdating po ng Biyernes," he said.
(I will accept the judgement of the different states come Friday.)