Reference: Atty. H. Harrry L. Roque 09175398096

Metro Manila, PHILIPPINES “We are happy that the Philippines has won regarding the issue of jurisdiction,” said lawyer and KABAYAN first nominee Atty. Harry Roque, “but this is only the first step: our legal battle to win our case on the merits against China has just begun.”

This was after the Hague arbitration court has ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear the territorial dispute between China and the Philippines regarding the West Philippine Sea.

China claims sovereignty over the entire West Philippine Sea under its proposed 9-dash line, basing its claim on ancient title. Legal experts around the world has disputed this, stating that said 9-dash line was initially articulated  by Taiwanese academics in the 50’s and was only resurrected in 2009 as part of China’s opposition to joint application of Vietnam and Malaysia for an extended continental shelf.

Because of actions by the Chinese government, including the employment of Chinese ships to patrol the area and the building of artificial islands in low-tide elevations, the Philippines has since initiated arbitration with China in January 2013 under the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), claiming that said acts are transgressions on national maritime territory.

China has boycotted the proceedings, and while having commissioned the submission of a de facto counter-memorial, insists that it will not be bound by the outcome of the arbitration.

However, China’s assertion was countered by the Hague arbitration court itself, which held that additional hearings were to be conducted to decide the merits of the Philippines’ arguments, including the issue of whether artificial islands can be the subject of title and can generate maritime zones.

“The challenge right now is on the merits of the case,” Atty. Roque said, “and we are optimistic that we can declare the nine-dash line illegal as per the UNCLOS.”

However, added Atty. Roque, the Philippines needs to be prepared for any eventuality.

“Even if we win, we still have to think of ways and means to compel  China to comply, which is easier said than done,” Atty. Roque said.

Atty. Harry Roque is the former Director of the Institute of International Legal Studies at the UP Law Center, and professor of Constitutional Law at the UP College of Law. He has given up his established academic career to pursue an elected legislative position through party-list, but remains active regarding issues of national and international importance.

“We need to conduct ourselves in a manner consistent with international law,” Atty. Roque advised. “We should implore the US to cease provocation and allow arbitration to take its course.”

The main advocacies of his partylist, KABAYAN, are KAlusugan (health), PaBAhay (housing) and KabuHAYan (livelihood), as part of the legal mandate of the State. Atty. Roque aims to use his expertise in national and international law to fight for the socio-economic constitutional rights of Filipinos, as well as support the Philippines in its international claims.



METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES— “We should hold Indonesia liable for the haze under the Articles on State Responsibility,” said Atty. Harry Roque, in light of the deadly Indonesian haze reaching Philippine territory.

Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) had earlier issued an advisory that moderate haze is affecting the Zamboanga peninsula, and that said haze has even reached as far as Metro Manila.

The haze is caused by the intentional slashing and burning of forest land to clear the way for new plantations. Indonesia is the world’s leading producer of palm oil, as well as a leading producer of paper and pulp products.

But this year’s El Niño and the prolonged dry season have caused raging forest fires, leading to more than 500,000 cases of respiratory infections and 10 deaths from haze-related illnesses in the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan alone.

The forest fires and inadequate government response are now being described as “crimes against humanity.”

Atty. Roque emphasized that the haze is not merely a local concern for Indonesia, as other countries, like Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, are now being affected by it.

“Under international law, Indonesia is liable under the Articles on State Responsibility,” Atty. Roque said. “Clearly this is a breach of Indonesia’s international obligation to keep its environment and economic activities in check. It has sanctioned for too long the burning of its forests to the detriment of everyone.”

Atty. Roque is the former Director of the Institute of International Legal Studies at the UP Law Center, and professor of Constitutional Law at the UP College of Law. He has given up his established academic career to pursue an elective legislative position.

One of the main advocacies of his party-list, KABAYAN, is KAlusugan (health), as part of the legal mandate of the State, including housing and livelihood.

Atty. Roque aims to use his expertise in international law to fight for socio-economic constitutional rights of Filipinos.

“Establishing liability will compel Indonesia and Malaysia, as frequent sources of haze, to be more vigilant against allowing their territories to be used in a manner injurious to other countries, especially the Philippines,” Atty. Roque said.


2009 Philippine-China Agreement on consular immunity is constitutionally infirm

The 2009 Bilateral agreement between the Philippines and China signed by then DFA Sec. Alberto Romulo, which accorded Chinese consular officials full immunity is constitutionally infirm. Such an agreement which provides for full immunity where international law only accords functional immunity is a new national policy and requires therefore the concurrence of the Philippine Senate. A DFA Secretary has no power to limit the applicability of Philippine laws for crimes committed in the Philippines. Only Congress can do this which is why the Constitution provides that no treaty shall be valid and binding in the Philippines without the concurrence of 2/3 votes of all the members of the Senate.

The 2009 accord illustrates why the executive’s position that any and all executive agreement do not require concurrence of the Senate is wrong.

Statement on the recent shooting incident involving Chinese consulate officials in Cebu City

Atty. Harry L. Roque (UP College of Law International Law Professor and First Nominee, KABAYAN Party-List):

The recent shooting incident involving Chinese consulate officials in Cebu City should be investigated and prosecuted by Philippine authorities.

Consular officials, under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, do not enjoy full immunity. They only enjoy functional immunity or such immunity as may be required so that they can perform consular functions properly. These functions are mostly commercial in nature. The shooting incident in Cebu was a breach of Philippine penal laws and should be investigated and prosecuted as an ordinary crime

Statement on Pemberton’s deportation order

The order of the Bureau of Immigration ordering the deportation of US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton is a welcome development. It was at the instance of the Laude family that he was made the subject of deportation proceedings. It proves that he is indeed an undesirable alien arising from the killing of Jennifer. This notwithstanding, his deportation should be after he serves his sentence, if found guilty. Any contrary ruling will accord him with impunity.

Atty. Harry L. Roque (First Nominee, KABAYAN Party-List) Statement on Sajid Ampatuan’s Filing of Candidacy

Reference: Atty. Harry L. Roque, Jr. 09175398096

People should not vote for him and his kin. But then again, in places like Maguindanao, if it is not the Ampatuans, it will just be another feudal family. That is why I am running under a party-list committed to the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights. It is only through the implementation of these rights that we can break the feudal hold of warlords in provinces like Maguindanao.

My valedictory column

This will be my last column. In the same way that I had my last lecture as a full-time academic at the Malcolm Hall, UP College of Law last Monday, let me share here my reflection on being a full time academic. I never intended to be one. This is because my mother was a full-time academic, initially at the University of the Philippines. I saw how despite the prestige, my mother was doomed to a life of poverty. This prompted her to seek greener pastures abroad, even at a very high social cost of being separated from us. She retired as an academic from the University of Chicago and, as fate would have it, we were finally reunited by reason of her sickness during her final four years.

Much as I was attracted to a teaching career, inspired by the likes of Perfecto Fernandez, Justice Cuevas, Justice VV Mendoza, Merlin Magallona, and Dean Pacifico Agabin, all of whom taught law in a truly “grand manner,” I suppressed this attraction.

It was not until my 10th year of specialized law practice in WTO Fair Trade litigation when I finally succumbed to the seduction of legal education. The invitation to teach international law was made by then Dean and now Judge Raul Pangalangan who, until today, remains one of my mentors.

Fifteen years later, I end my career as a full-time academic. I do so with sadness, even if I am certain that it is for the correct reasons. I am most thankful for the link between my teaching and my scholarship. I have today no less than 30 journal articles, 2 books off the press, and a further two, which will be submitted under the UP Centennial Book series.

It was my teaching too that inspired my filing of many public interest litigation before the Supreme Court. It was my pioneer class in 2001 that was responsible for the case of Pimentel vs. Executive Secretary that unsuccessfully sought to compel the submission of the certified true copies of the ICC Rome Statute to the Senate for the latter’s concurrence. While the students and I lost a battle when we lost the case—where CJ Puno, with all due respect, erroneously ruled that treaty making was an exclusively executive function—we have since won the war since all the grounds which we invoked as basis for the ministerial transmittal of the Rome Statute to the Senate were also the exact same reasons why the Philippines acceded to the Rome Statute, albeit nine years later, in 2010.

Likewise, I am happy to note that the entire corpus of judgments that the SC has promulgated on the meaning of a “treaty” in the context of whether foreign funded projects should comply with our government procurement act, specifically on its provision on public and competitive bidding, were cases arising from my class discussion on Treaties as an element of statehood. I am even happier to note that the most recent ruling on Northrail, where the Court ruled that a treaty is a written agreement entered into by states in connection with a sovereign function, finally corrected the erroneous ruling of the Court in my first case on this topic in the case of Abaya vs. Executive Secretary which the GMA administration invoked as legal basis for the anomalous contracts of NBN-ZTE and Northrail.

It was also my teachings in Constitutional Law two that gave rise to landmark jurisprudence such as David vs. Arroyo, Cacho-Olivares vs. Arroyo, and the UN Human Rights Committee View in Adonis vs. Republic of the Philippines.

Which brings me now to why I say goodbye to this opinion column. Perhaps the best reason is by citing one of the most important case that I argued and lost in the SC representing my greatest mentor in public international law: Dean Merlin Magallona. In the case of Magallona vs Executive Secretary, we impugned the constitutionality of the 2009 Philippine Baselines Law for violating Article I of the 1987 Constitution, which classified our archipelagic waters as internal waters. The 2009 Baselines Law re-classified our constitutional internal waters as archipelagic waters under the UNCLOS subject to innocent passage, over flight and the regime of straights passage. SC Justice Antonio Carpio, in dismissing the petition, said that the matter was not justiciable since it involved an issue of wisdom of the law. It was an issue of policy and hence, the constitutional domain of Congress.

To my dear readers, I say goodbye to you today precisely because policies—such as whether to do away with 220,000 square kilometers of territorial seas, which we abandoned when Congress enacted the 2009 Baselines Law—should be made with full knowledge of the law and with utmost nationalism, rather than on the basis of political  accommodation. Further, economic, social, and cultural rights can never be implemented by jurisprudence, but by policies crafted by Congress.

And so I formally announce that I am seeking a congressional seat as the first   nominee of the party list KABAYAN that stands for Kalusugan Pabahay at Kabuhayan. I offer myself to our people as a member of Congress on a platform to promote and protect not just political and civil rights, but more importantly, Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

I am blessed to have served Philippine society with the view from Malcolm Hall. It is my fervent hope that our people grant me the privilege to serve them with a seat and a view from Batasan Hall.

Please continue to follow me at my blog (, twitter (@attyharryroque), and FB accounts.