Herminio "Harry" Lopez Roque Jr. (Tagalog: [ˈrɔkɛ]; born October 21, 1966) is a Filipino lawyer, politician, and former law professor. He served as the presidential spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte from 2017 to 2018 and from 2020 to 2021. He was the party-list representative of KABAYAN from 2016 to 2017.

Harry Roque
Roque in 2023
Presidential Spokesperson
In office
April 13, 2020 – November 15, 2021
PresidentRodrigo Duterte
DeputyChina Jocson
Preceded bySalvador Panelo
Succeeded byKarlo Nograles
In office
October 30, 2017 – October 15, 2018
PresidentRodrigo Duterte
DeputyChina Jocson
Preceded byErnesto Abella
Succeeded bySalvador Panelo
IATF-EID Spokesperson
In office
April 23, 2020 – November 15, 2021
Preceded byKarlo Nograles
Succeeded byKarlo Nograles
Member of the
Philippine House of Representatives
for Kabayan party-list
In office
July 25, 2016 – October 30, 2017
Preceded bynone
Succeeded byCiriaco Calalang
Personal details
Herminio Lopez Roque Jr.

(1966-10-21) October 21, 1966 (age 57)
Political partyPRP (2018–present)
Other political
KABAYAN Partylist (2015–2017)
Hugpong ng Pagbabago (2018–present)
SpouseMylah Reyes-Roque
ResidenceQuezon City[1]
Alma materUniversity of Michigan (B.A.)
University of the Philippines Diliman (LL.B.)
London School of Economics (LL.M.)

Roque taught constitutional law and public international law for 15 years at the University of the Philippines College of Law.[2] In his law practice, he notably represented the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and the family of Jennifer Laude, a transwoman killed by a U.S. Marine.

Roque was requested by President Rodrigo Duterte to be his presidential spokesperson, and on October 27, 2017, Roque was officially appointed, replacing Ernesto Abella.[3] On November 22, 2017, he was designated presidential adviser for human rights concurrent with being the presidential spokesperson.[4]

Roque is a member of the Advisory Council of the Asian Society of International Law (AsianSIL) and was president of AsianSIL from 2018 to 2019.[5]



Roque received his Bachelor of Arts (economics and political science) from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (1986), Bachelor of Laws from University of the Philippines (1990) and Master of Laws with merits from the London School of Economics (1996).[6]


Through the advocacy group Center for International Law (Centerlaw), of which he was one of the founders, Roque and his team represented victims of the 2009 Ampatuan massacre;[7] the Malaya Lolas, victims of systematic rape and abuse by the Japanese Imperial Army;[8] the family of the killed transgender Jennifer Laude;[9] and the family of the murdered environmental advocate and media man Gerry Ortega of Palawan.[10]

Roque has argued before the Supreme Court on several occasions. On the Supreme Court website, the retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura identifies him "as among those who have impressed him when they had argued before the Supreme Court".[11]

Among the cases Roque argued before the high court were questioning President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Presidential Proclamation 1017 and General Order No. 5,[12] placing the country under a State of Emergency partially unconstitutional for infringing on the constitutionally protected rights of free speech, peaceful assembly and freedom of the press.[13] He is also among the five counsels allowed to argue specific issues raised against the Cybercrime Law.[14] On another occasion, he represented the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in arguing that local government officials cannot deny applications for rally permits except on grounds that the conduct of the same will result in a clear and present danger to the state.[15]

Roque also helped secure for Boracay Foundation a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) to stop the reclamation of 42 hectares (100 acres) of land in Caticlan due to the absence of studies and guarantees that it would not damage Boracay Island.[16] Roque won the first ever granted petition for the Writ of Amparo in favor of a journalist,[17] as well as another petition for Amparo - the second application for writ of Amparo where the Court of Appeals issued protective orders.[18]

Roque mentored and coached some of the UP College of Law moot teams that won in various competitions, including the 2015 Oxford Price Moot Court Competition in Oxford, UK, where the team beat 91 others.[19] He also mentored the team that won prizes in the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot Competition held in Hong Kong on March 18, 2015,[20] and the team that won the championship on March 11–12, 2005. In March 2012, Team Philippines made it to the semi-finals of the 2012 Jessup International Law Moot Court competition in Washington, D.C.[21]

Roque was nominated by the Philippine government to the International Law Commission in 2021. As part of his bid, he proposed an international treaty on equal COVID-19 vaccine access and the recognition of the permanent presence of states which could possibly sink below sea level due to global warming.[22] Roque's bid was vehemently objected by various sectors such as the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan leftist group,[23] around 150 lawyers, the Free Legal Assistance Group,[22] the executive committee of his alma mater University of the Philippines Diliman,[24] and the UP Integrated High School[25] for being a part of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration. He failed to garner enough votes to win one of the eight seats in contention.[26][27]

Political career



Roque (center, background) witnesses President Rodrigo Duterte sign the Universal Health Care Act at the Malacañang Palace on February 20, 2019.

After becoming a congressman in the 17th Congress, Roque resigned as a member of the Center for International Law (Centerlaw).[28] He was the principal author of the Universal Health Coverage Law,[29] the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act, the Free Irrigation Service Act, an act establishing a national feeding program for public school pupils, and the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.[6]

Roque was also one of three representatives who endorsed the impeachment case against the former Comelec chairman, Andres Bautista.[30]

Presidential spokesperson

Roque as presidential spokesman in 2017

Roque assumed the role of President Duterte's presidential spokesperson on November 6, 2017.[31] According to Duterte, Roque was a fit for the role because like him, he has a "slightly naughty speaking style". Roque said that Duterte was looking for someone who could understand the remarks of the President, adding that the nature of his job required him to relay Duterte's positions.[32]

2019 Senate elections

Roque files his Certificate of Candidacy for senator in 2019.

On October 5, 2018, Roque was reported to be interested to vie for a Senate seat in the 2019 elections. Duterte said that Roque had no chance in winning, saying that Roque had no support from the military; Duterte added he will just give Roque another role.[33] Four days later, Roque was reported to have threatened to resign from his post after he was kept in the dark about Duterte's visit to a hospital on October 3.[34] He eventually resigned on October 15, expressing his plans to run for a seat at the House of Representatives, under Luntiang Pilipinas Party.[35] Roque later made his political plans official after filing his Certificate of Candidacy for Senator of the republic on October 17.[34]

On February 1, 2019, Roque dropped out of the 2019 Senatorial race, citing a medical condition.[35]

Return as the presidential spokesperson


In April 2020, Roque returned to his role as Duterte's presidential spokesperson, replacing Salvador Panelo, who replaced him in 2018.[36]

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic on April 13, 2020, Roque assumed the role of spokesperson for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, replacing Karlo Nograles.[37][38]

2022 Senate elections


Roque filed his certificate of candidacy for the 2022 Senate election on November 15, 2021, which automatically deemed him resigned from his position as presidential and IATF spokesperson. After expressing desire to run as senator if Sara Duterte decides to run for a national position, Roque ran under the People's Reform Party, substituting the candidacy of Paolo Mario Martelino.[39] Additionally, following a protest staged in New York City against his bid to get elected to the International Law Commission of the United Nations, Roque stated he "found resolve to run" to prevent the election of allies of what he deems as extremist groups.[40] Roque lost in the Senate elections, finishing at 17th in a race to fill 12 seats.[41]

Criticism and controversies


Libel, cyber-libel lawsuits


On May 14, 2024, Antonio Trillanes IV filed defamation and cyberlibel complaint affidavits with the Quezon City Prosecutors's Office against Roque for alleged false accusations of selling Scarborough Shoal to China during his back-channel talks in 2012.[42][43] Roque welcomed Trillanes' filing of charges, saying "He who cannot fight in the free marketplace of ideas resort to the filing of libel cases! By filing these cases, he has proven to be an enemy of freedom of expression".[44] A subpoena was issued by the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office on June 3 against Roque and political vlogger Byron "Banat By" Cristobal.[45] On June 18, Roque filed a counter-affidavit and libel charges against Trillanes for alleged violations of Republic Acts No. 3019 (the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act") and No. 6713 (the "Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees").[46]

Personal life


Roque is a Protestant.[47] He is married to Mylah Reyes, a former television reporter, with whom he has two children.[48][6]

Social media presence


Roque has an online program in social media called "The Spox Hour", where he speaks about various political issues concerning the Philippines. In June 2024, an old video clip featuring Roque and his guest OPM singer Ronnie Liang in "The Spox Hour" became viral on social media. In the video, Roque said "Maya-maya, tignan natin kung mapapa-topless natin si Ronnie Liang; Ako, magta-topless ako". Liang guested in Roque's show during their visit to Dinagat Island in July 2022.[49] The old video resurfaced in relation to an issue wherein documents from a POGO raided by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission in Porac, Pampanga linked Roque to 2016 Mr. Supranational Philippines winner Alberto Rodulfo "AR" Dela Serna; Serna, who then served as Roque's executive assistant, had his Europe travel costs funded by Roque.[50]


  1. ^ Ranada, Pia (July 3, 2020). "'Not leisure,' says Roque about swim with dolphins at Ocean Adventure". Rappler. Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  2. ^ "Herminio Harry L. Roque Jr". College of Law, University of the Philippines. Archived from the original on July 20, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  3. ^ "Harry Roque to be Duterte's new spokesman". Rappler. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  4. ^ "Roque appointed presidential adviser on human rights". CNN Philippines. November 22, 2017. Archived from the original on November 30, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  5. ^ "AsianSIL Governing Bodies". Asian Society of International Law. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "The Philippines' Candidate for the International Law Commission (ILC) 2023-2027; Professor Herminio "Harry" L. Roque" (PDF). United Nations. August 2021. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 26, 2021. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  7. ^ "Maguindanao massacre cops' bail doesn't faze lawyer Roque, who's focused on Ampatuans". InterAksyon with Radyo5. October 16, 2014. Archived from the original on February 23, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
    - Murdoch, Lindsay (December 6, 2014). "Cry for justice: the Ampatuan massacre". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  8. ^ Torres-Tupas, Tech (January 6, 2016). "Aquino may face suit for failure to help PH comfort women—lawyer". Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  9. ^ "Pemberton admits choking Jennifer Laude". Philippine Daily Inquirer. August 24, 2015.
  10. ^ Aning, Jerome (September 23, 2015). "Reyes brothers extradited on Thursday". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  11. ^ Rempillo, Jay. "The Experience of Oral Argument Before the Supreme Court". Supreme Court of the Philippines. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  12. ^ "David v. Arroyo, G.R. No. 171396, May 3, 2006". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  13. ^ Clapano, Jose Rodel (March 8, 2006). "SC petitioners insist '1017' a martial law decree". The Philippine Star. Archived from the original on April 8, 2023. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  14. ^ Flores, Mikha (January 16, 2013). "Vera Files". Archived from the original on November 23, 2013. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  15. ^ "IBP vs Atienza G.R. No. 175241". Supreme Court of the Philippines. February 24, 2010.
  16. ^ "SC puts indefinite stop to Boracay reclamation project". ABS-CBN News. July 12, 2012. Archived from the original on February 25, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  17. ^ "Slain mediaman's lawyer: There's blood on CA's hands". GMA News Online. June 10, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
    - Delfin, Claire (March 30, 2009). "Writ of amparo: How effective is it?". GMA News Online. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  18. ^ Punay, Edu (May 29, 2009). "Court of Appeals orders Gadian to substantiate claims of death threats". The Philippine Star. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
  19. ^ Fopalan, Renee (March 28, 2015). "UP Law Wins Oxford Moot Court Competition". GMA News Online. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  20. ^ Francisco, Allan (March 18, 2015). "U-P College Of Law Students...Nagwagi Sa Ilang Kategorya Ng Isang International Humanitarian Law Moot Court Competition". DZUP (in Filipino). Archived from the original on February 23, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  21. ^ Tonson, Marlon (March 31, 2012). "UP Law Mooters' Magical Run Ends in the Jessup Final Four in Washington". GMA News Online. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  22. ^ a b Manahan, Job; Navallo, Mike (September 13, 2021). "Roque confirms being in NY for International Law Commission bid". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  23. ^ Gregorio, Xave; Patag, Kristine Joy (November 13, 2021). "Roque loses bid for International Law Commission seat". The Philippine Star. Archived from the original on November 13, 2021. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  24. ^ Valente, Catherine S. (September 15, 2021). "Roque hits UP officials' attempt to 'ignore, erase' accomplishments due to politics". The Manila Times. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  25. ^ Baron, Gabriela (September 16, 2021). "UPIS opposes alumnus Roque's nomination to UN-led legal body". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  26. ^ "Roque loses bid to get seat at UN body". Philippine Daily Inquirer. November 13, 2021. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  27. ^ Gita-Carlos, Ruth Abbey (September 15, 2021). "Roque laments his ILC nomination being 'politicized'". Philippine News Agency. Archived from the original on September 15, 2021. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  28. ^ "Lawyers group hopes Roque will uphold human rights while in Palace". GMA News Online. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  29. ^ "Universal health coverage bill clears House". InterAksyon. September 7, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  30. ^ "Impeachment rap filed vs Comelec chief in House". ABS-CBN News. Archived from the original on August 23, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  31. ^ Ropero, Gillan. "Duterte names Harry Roque as new Presidential spokesperson". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  32. ^ Macas, Trisha (October 28, 2017). "Duterte appoints Harry Roque presidential spokesperson". GMA News Online. Archived from the original on April 8, 2023. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  33. ^ "Duterte says Roque won't win in 2019 polls". ABS-CBN News. October 5, 2018. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  34. ^ a b Corrales, Nestor (October 9, 2018). "Duterte: Roque threatened to resign, I said go". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  35. ^ a b Mendez, Christina. "Harry Roque won't win as senator, says Duterte". The Philippine Star. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  36. ^ "Harry Roque returns as Duterte's spokesperson". Archived from the original on April 15, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  37. ^ "Nograles out, Roque in as IATF spokesman". The Philippine Star. April 24, 2020. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
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  39. ^ Kabagani, Lade Jean (November 15, 2021). "'Mission accomplished', Roque on his journey as Palace spox". Philippine News Agency (in English and Filipino). Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  40. ^ Galvez, Daphne (November 4, 2021). "Roque 'found resolve to run' for Senate in 2022 after NYC rally vs ILC nomination". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  41. ^ "Harry Roque | Eleksyon 2022". GMA Network. Retrieved March 10, 2023.
  42. ^ Moaje, Marita (May 14, 2024). "Ex-senator files libel, cyberlibel raps vs. Duterte supporters". Philippine News Agency. Retrieved May 15, 2024.
  43. ^ Cabato, Luisa (May 15, 2024). "Trillanes sues Duterte supporters". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved May 15, 2024.
  44. ^ Africa, Raymond (June 2, 2024). "Subpoenas issued vs Roque, vlogger over cyber libel raps –". Malaya Business Insight. Archived from the original on June 2, 2024. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  45. ^ "Roque, co-accused summoned to reply to cyberlibel raps". Manila Standard. June 2, 2024. Archived from the original on June 2, 2024. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  46. ^ Serquina, Celine (June 23, 2024). "Roque files counter affidavit vs Trillanes libel charges". GMA News Online. Archived from the original on June 23, 2024. Retrieved July 11, 2024.
  47. ^ "UCCP honors members in national positions". The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  48. ^ "Harry Roque is Duterte's new spokesman; group urges lawmaker to reconsider because he's a 'fierce HR advocate'". The Philippine Star. October 28, 2017. Retrieved October 26, 2020. ...which was also attended by Roque's wife, former TV reporter Mylah Reyes-Roque...
  49. ^ Severo, Jan Milo (June 21, 2024). "Ronnie Liang, Harry Roque's viral video resurfaces". The Philippine Star. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  50. ^ Javier, Kristian Eric (June 21, 2024). "Get to know AR Dela Serna, Harry Roque's 'executive assistant'". GMA Integrated News. Retrieved June 22, 2024.
House of Representatives of the Philippines
Preceded by
Terry Ridon
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives for Kabayan
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Presidential Spokesperson
Succeeded by
Preceded by Presidential Spokesperson
Succeeded by
Preceded by IATF-EID Spokesperson