Cowardice in numbers
By Atty. Farah G. Decano
PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson, Herminio “Harry” Roque, is currently being stripped down of whatever he has adorned himself with, by the constituency he is serving and by the very people he grew up with in the UP Community.
He is, now, being lambasted, ridiculed and bashed for his display of vitriolic temper against the representatives of the medical profession and for brazenly aiming for a seat at the United Nations International Law Commission. Many have terminated their so-called social media hibernation in order to join the fracas. They hinted on his dubious sexual orientation and harped on his alleged physical likeness to a swine. Indeed, the criticisms are very vicious. I am surprised that even some lawyers participated in this low-blow, cheap attacks ad hominem.
I, too, had been the subject of unfair criticisms when I held positions of public interest. Those who disliked me used their numbers to silence me, to make me bow down to their shady interests. They also insinuated about my gender expression in a derogatory way to dissuade me from doing what I believed was right.
If I were Harry Roque, the more my critics resort to these tactics, the more I need not worry. I see cowardice in the need for numbers. I detect ignorance in the fallacious arguments no matter how intellectually or literarily they were written. With all these social media ad hominem assaults, the presidential spox should have already considered himself a winner. After all, slander is the solace of the ignorant, according to sources.
A popular public outrage against a personality is not necessarily right. The suitability of a person for a certain position must be judged in accordance with his consistent alignment with truth and justice. He must not be evaluated on the basis of charisma, number of supporters, physical appearance or sexual orientation of the person.
In the case of Atty. Roque, there is absolutely no need for his critics to take refuge in name-calling, body-shaming and gender-bashing. Afterall, there is no dearth of instances that may be be cited why the spox must not ascend to the United Nations International Law Commission, the membership of which is determined by member states.
Atty. Roque’s personal track record in taking on controversial cases with human rights slant cannot be denied. He may have competently handled famous and controversial lawsuits such as the Maguindanao Massacre case, the Jennifer Laude case, and the Comfort Women case. However, his person has evolved in rapid speed, similar to the process of mutation, since the reign of President Rodrigo Duterte. Atty. Roque uttered perceived anti-women slurs during the de Lima congressional hearings, supported the withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court Treaty which was a 180 degree turn from his earlier position a few years ago, and worst, accepted the mighty position as speaker for person whose human rights records have been put to question by the international community itself. How could a known human rights advocate have agreed to speak on behalf of a president who has no respect for the very rights he has long fought for? A valid issue of the public against Atty. Roque really is not about his capability but his integrity. In the face of power, how much is he willing to compromise?
If the Filipinos have to be represented before the UN International Law Commission, we want one whose loyalty and principles are, consistently, in alignment with truth and justice. Unfortunately, the brilliant Atty. Roque fails to convince public opinion in this regard.
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