Why is Harry Roque in New York? ; 'to seek election in non-paying UN job,' he says

Published September 13, 2021, 3:39 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has admitted to being in New York in the United States (US) to seek election to what he described as a “non-full time job” that “has no salary”.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and the American flag (Photos from MANILA BULLETIN, Unsplash)

“Narito po tayo sa (I’m here in) New York, pipili po ng 34 na mga miyembro ng International Law Commission (ILC) ang mga miyembro ng United Nations (UN) (where the members of the UN will choose the 34 members of the ILC),” Roque said a virtual press briefing with Malacañang beat reporters Monday, Sept. 13.

“Hindi po ito full-time job itong ILC, wala po itong sweldo. Mayroon lang po mga pagpupulong na gagawin na kung hindi po ako nagkakamali ay ilang lingo kada taon. Wala pong sweldo (The ILC membership is not a full-time job, it has no salary. There will only be several weeks of hearings that would be done every year if I’m not mistaken. There’s no salary),” he said.

“Hahayaan ko na po ang mga estado sa daigdig na magdesisyon kung karapat-dapat ba ho ako na mahalal sa ILC, pero ang kwalipikasyon lang po, kailangan eksperto sa international law (I will let the different nations of the world decide whether or not I’m worthy to be elected to the ILC, but the only qualification is that one must be an expert on international law),” the Palace official added.

Rumors of Roque leaving the country began to swirl last Friday when a picture of the Palace mouthpiece supposed en route to somewhere was posted on Twitter. He had a virtual press briefing earlier that same day, but didn’t mention any trip.

Roque skipped his scheduled briefing last Thursday for undisclosed reasons. He used a virtual background for his appearance in the Friday briefing–something that he rarely does.

“Ano ba ho itong International Law Commission? Hindi po ito hukuman, hindi po ito trabaho. Ito po’y 34 na mga eksperto sa larangan ng international law (What is this International Law Commission? This is not a court, this is not a job. This is a group of 34 experts in the field of international law),” he explained.

So what is the motivation for aspiring to be be chosen to be part of ILC if it does not offer any monetary compensation? For Roque, it is his sheer interest and passion for engaging in international law discussions.

“Bagamat ako’y nominado ng Pilipinas, yung paghalal po sakin ay sa aking indibidwal na kapasidad bilang eksperto sa international law. Ito po yung subject na itinuro ko nang 15 taon sa UP (Although I’m nominated by the Philippines, my nomination was based on my personal capacity as expert international law expert. This was the subject that I taught for 15 years in the University of the Philippines),” he noted.

He further said that his recent tenure as president of the Asian Society of International Law also had a bearing on his nomination for the ILC seat.