PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Harry Roque has been named President Rodrigo Duterete’s adviser on human rights.
Roque announced this yesterday, although Malacañang has yet to release a copy of his appointment papers.
“Being appointed recently as Presidential Adviser on Human Rights concurrent with my being the Presidential Spokesperson, I will take steps to ensure that the Philippines discharges its obligations in protecting and promoting human rights, especially the right to life,” Roque said in a statement.
Before joining Duterte’s Cabinet, Roque was a Kabayan Partylist Representative and a human rights lawyer.
Roque has served as the lawyer of the relatives of the media members killed in the Maguindanao massacre.
He said he was “appointed recently as Presidential Adviser on Human Rights concurrent with my being the Presidential Spokesperson.”
With this new position, Roque said he would help the Duterte administration improve its record in safeguarding human rights.
Roque had long been hinting at a concurrent position Duterte would assign to him.
Right after Duterte announced he would become his new spokesman, Roque said he wished to advise the President on matters related to human rights.
“I considered the position with the specific purpose of getting an audience with the President to address key human rights issues in the Philippines….By taking this position, I hope to be able to advise the President directly regarding the manner and methods he has used to tackle the problem of drugs,” he said
Before serving in Duterte’s Cabinet, Roque was a human rights lawyer who, through the organization CenterLaw, served as legal counsel for comfort women, journalists, and the family of slain transgender woman Jennifer Laude in their case against US marine Joseph Scott Pemberton. He left CenterLaw to become a party-list representative.