University of the Philippines law professor Harry Roque confirmed his intention to run for the Senate; saying he is “seriously considering” being part of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Roque, who is known to have represented slain transgender Jennifer Laude, said he has been offered a slot in the UNA slate by no less than Vice President Binay himself.
“I want to prove that common citizens, including law professors and human rights advocates, can be elected by the people to the Senate. If Jovito Salonga and Miriam Defensor-Santiago did it, I see no reason why I cannot do the same,” he wrote on a blog post.
He also noted the need to elect more qualified individuals to the Upper House while emphasizing his credentials as a lawyer and activist.
“We need more qualified people in the Senate. Not only have I been a lawyer-activist for the past 25 years, I have also been teaching Constitutional and International Law for the past 15 years at the University of the Philippines, Philippine Judicial Academy, and American University. My role as a public interest lawyer and as a Professor has taught me how to use existing tools towards the building of a more egalitarian and an open society. Certainly, my background will assist me in crafting laws for the same ends,” he wrote.
He said he would be going around the country with Vice President Binay until September before making his final decision by October in time for the filing of candidacy.
“I am aware of the many challenges in winning a seat in the Senate. To begin with, the post will require funding of at least 300 Million since the Supreme Court recently declared as unconstitutional limits on campaign advertisement spending on radio and television. There, too, is the herculean task of building an organization that will result in at least 13.5 Million votes, the minimum required for a Senate seat,” he said.
Roque also reiterated his support of the Vice President while presuming the latter’s innocence amidst allegations of corruption being investigated in the Senate.
“I believe he is entitled to his human right of presumption of innocence, particularly in an election year. I also believe that his background as a lawyer, a human rights advocate, and as a local executive of the country’s premier city makes him the best choice for President in 2016,” he noted.