Opposition lawmaker and Human Right lawyer Albay Representative Edcel Lagman on Sunday accused Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque of taking a “180-degree turnaround”on his stand on President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.
The lawmaker said that Roque easily “crumble under the weight” of being a Presidential Spokesperson.
“Some individuals easily crumble under the weight of official title and jettison without qualms their principles for partisan subservience and convenience,” Lagman said.
He pointed out that Roque was then critical to Duterte’s bloody illegal drugs campaign when he was still a Kabayan party-list representative. Lagman said that Roque is now singing a “completely different refrain, a 180-degree turnaround”.
Lagman was pertaining to Roque’s statement when he warned Duterte to be cautious with his statement on the war on drugs, and that the International Criminal Court (ICC) might execute its jurisdiction over him for accusations of allegedly committing crimes against humanity.
He also recalled the August 11, 2016 privilege speech of Roque: “It is clear that civilian populations are in fact under attack. We see this and the International Court of Justice has recognized this fact through news reports all around us overwhelmingly establishing that hundreds of Filipinos have been killed either directly or by government forces, or with the support or tolerance.”
“It also clear that the President is aware that these acts are ongoing. Even without proof of a directive on his part, he has, in many instances, spoken about the use of violence against drug syndicates,” Roque earlier said.
“While it would be imprudent for me to say with certainty that President Duterte has already committed a crime against humanity, it would still be a disservice to this entire nation if I didn’t warn the President to be careful,” he added.
Roque, however, when sought for comment said that he had been “taken out of context.”
“There was no conclusion there. Just a warning. I said that elements of crimes against humanity were still to be established,” he said in an exclusive text message sent to Inquirer.net.
He added, “I concluded [the President] could still not be held liable for crimes against humanity.”
For the record, Roque said that the administration’s war contra illegal drugs are lawful and a sovereign act, saying that the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s action to conduct a “preliminary examination” would be a “waste of time and resources” for the court.
The Hague-based ICC is set to conduct its preliminary examination on the alleged summary executions related to President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign to suppress the narcotics problem in the Philippines.