Activists hound ‘Hypocrite Harry’ in Canada; say Roque complicit in tokhang murders

Activists hounded former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in Canada they said is out on a disinformation tour about former president Rodrigo Duterte’s mass-murdering “drug war.”

Members of various Vancouver-based organizations under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN, New Patriotic Alliance) protested the forum organized by the Canadian chapter of the pro-Duterte Hakbang ng Maisug group last Saturday, July 20.

Roque, a speaker at the forum, is on a North American tour of various Maisug forums.

His Vancouver visit preceded his controversial California stop last Sunday where he posted a video showing President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. allegedly using illegal drugs.

“HUSGAHAN SI VANGAG!” Roque said on X.

Activists protesting the pro-Duterte forum where Harry Roque was a speaker. (BAYAN-Vancouver photo)

In Vancouver, the activists said Roque himself is complicit in Duterte’s crimes by acting not only as Palace spokesperson but as a defender of the “drug war.”

Protestors outside noted that Roque dismissed many extrajudicial killings under Duterte as “coincidental” or “collateral damage.”

The International Criminal Court in The Hague in The Netherlands is set to issue arrest warrants against Duterte and other officials responsible for at least 6,000 deaths from 2016 to 2017.

“Roque justified attacks on and persecution of activists and human rights defenders and other human rights violations,” said Jaela Villegas, vice chair of BAYAN-Canada.

Such attacks include the practice of red-tagging, or labeling legal activists and human rights defenders as communists or terrorists, the group added.

In 2022, Roque claimed that the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), an alliance predominantly made up of non-Filipino unionists, lawyers, and church people, was a “front” for the Communist Party of the Philippines after ICHRP denounced red-tagging in the Philippines.

At the Renfrew Community Centre on Saturday, Roque reportedly described the protesters as “terrorist CPP-NPA.”

“Red-tagging is a dangerous justification for more human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings of legal dissenters,” Villegas said.

ICHRP-Canada chair Luthfi Mawarid added that Roque “confirmed his hypocrisy as a peace advocate and rights defender by openly red-tagging protesters holding a legal and peaceful protest in the exercise of their basic rights.”

The protesters also supported the findings of the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) held in Brussels earlier this year that found the Duterte, Marcos Jr., and US President Joseph Biden administrations guilty of war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law.

The IPT was a quasi-judicial forum convened by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the Friends of the Filipino People in Struggle to investigate and address alleged war crimes committed by the US-supported Marcos and Duterte regimes.

Roque has also been called to the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives to explain his alleged role as the “legal counsel” of illegal operations of a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator hub, which was raided twice for human trafficking, torture, and scams.

In 2021, due to rallies by New York-based activists and a flood of protest statements by Philippine and global rights groups and his own alma mater, Roque lost his ambitious bid for a seat at the International Law Commission.

READ: Roque’s ILC dinner in New York disrupted

Roque then tried his luck for a Senate seat in the 2022 national elections. He lost. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Trillanes: ICC receives Duterte video admitting to mass murder

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has acknowledged receipt of a video showing former President Rodrigo Duterte admitting funding a death squad, former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV announced.

“Na-acknowledge na po ng ICC ang pagtanggap ng video. Pakiramdam ko malapit nang makamit ang hustisya,” Trillanes said on his social media accounts Tuesday, October 17. (The ICC has acknowledged receiving the video. I feel justice is near.)

Trillanes said his group Magdalo has submitted to the ICC a video showing Duterte publicly admitting that he used confidential and intelligence funds to conduct extra-judicial killings (EJKs) on his constituents in Davao City when he was still a mayor.

In a 18-second clip of an interview Duterte gave to controversial cult leader Apollo Quiboloy over the SMNI channel last week, Duterte said, “Ang intelligence fund, binili ko, pinapatay ko lahat. Kaya ganoon ang Davao. Iyong mga kasama ninyo, pinatigok ko talaga. Iyon ang totoo.” (The intelligence fund, I bought (used) it, I had them all killed. That is why Davao is like that. Your colleagues, I really had them murdered. That is the truth.)

With his latest admission, Trillanes said the charges against Duterte “…is truly an open-and-shut case.”

In the video, Duterte was referring to his so-called Davao Death Squad when he was city mayor in 1988 to 1998, 2001 to 2010, and from 2013 to 2016.

Duterte ordered a similar nationwide killing spree through the Philippine National Police when he became president in 2016 that reportedly resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.

Various mass murder and crimes against humanity complaints by Trillanes’ Magdalo, the group of families of victims of Duterte’s drug war Rise Up for Life and For Rights and lawyer Jude Sabio have been filed before the ICC since 2017.

The ICC said its investigation cover EJKs committed by Duterte and his cohorts from November 2011 to March 16, 2019, a day before the Philippine government withdrew from ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute.

The ICC has rejected various appeals submitted by the Philippine government to discard the complaints and is expected to issue a warrant of arrest against Duterte and fellow respondents such as former police chief and now Senator Ronald dela Rosa. 

Trillanes called on the government of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to finally allow ICC investigators into the country, “…in order to make ex-president Rodrigo Duterte accountable for his crimes against humanity.” (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Int’l tribunal finds Duterte ‘guilty’ of slaughter and other crimes

The International People’s Tribunal (IPT) held in Brussels, Belgium found President Rodrigo Roa Duterte “guilty” in a two-day hearing held in Brussels, Belgium.

After hearing 31 testimonies and experts’ reports on Duterte’s alleged crimes, including his government’s war on drugs that has killed at least four thousand victims, as well as “essentially genocidal war especially among indigenous peoples,” among other charges, the tribunal said they found Duterte culpable of anti-democratic and anti-people policies.

“The consistency and robustness of the testimonies has unanimously appeared to us as to be so compelling to justify the deliberation of a clear verdict on the main responsibilities of the main defendants,” the tribunal said.

Although not a strictly legal and judicial proceeding, the IPT, composed of globally eminent lawyers and human rights defenders is hoped to draw more attention on the state of human and other social and political rights in the Philippines under Duterte.

Watch this video of the presentation of the verdict.