By Raïssa Robles
“Idiot”, a “mere college graduate” and a “pseudo expert” on the Rome Statute was how she charmingly described me on Facebook.
I had never heard of Paula Defensor-Knack before this.
What set her off was my remark on the investigation of the complaints filed at the ICC. I commented on Twitter:
“I never never thought this would happen. Is the Duterte govt in panic mode?”
I thought that Attorney Jude Sabio’s filing before the ICC a year ago was a “suntok sa buwan” or punch in the sky. Something so remote and audacious that would be difficult to pursue.
And yet, the reaction of the Duterte government was extreme: to withdraw the nation altogether from the ICC. Which was why I had wondered.
Paula’s diatribe made me curious to look her up further. It seems her claim to expertise is that she is the youngest sister of the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago – architect of the Philippine concurrence to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Knack is also a lawyer but her specialization is on oceans and fish. She is still studying international criminal law at Leiden University and as far as I know, fish aren’t yet covered by criminal law. Her skills would probably prove useful should a garoupa (grouper) or bangus ever be hauled before the International Criminal Court.
What do you think?
What made me reply to her is that she is apparently being cited as some sort of expert by the Duterte trolls and the government’s propaganda apparatus, as the “go-to” on the Rome Statute and the ICC. I have already seen scores of posts praising her, reposting her remarks and urging her to run for the Senate.
ADDENDUM: It is the Duterte propaganda apparatus that has been amplifying Paula’s posts and repeatedly calling her “Miriam’s sister” like this one:
I found this curious and disturbing because this was the very opposite of what her dying sister fought for.
Here is my reply to her – in Filipino: