Malacañang came to the defense of President Duterte following remarks from some Filipinos online that he was a “once-a-week President”, saying the Chief Executive actually has a lot on his plate.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement following criticisms online about the President’s weekly public address.
In an interview with GMA’s “Stand For Truth,” Roque denied that President Duterte only does his jobs on Mondays when he usually delivers his public address since the beginning of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown in March last year.
“Hindi totoo ‘yan (That’s not true),” he said.
“Very busy po ang schedule ni Presidente at sa much as possible, pinapakita naman natin ang mga activities niya (The President has a very busy schedule but as much as possible, we are showing the public his activities),” he added.
According to Roque, President Duterte’s weekly public address, though edited and belatedly telecast, was important because that was his only means of communicating with the people.
“Importante kasi na magkaroon siya ng ‘Talk to the People’ dahil limitado nga po ang interaction niya (It’s important that he has this ‘Talk to the People’ because he has very limited interaction) with the media,” he said.
However, Roque admitted that he, himself, has limited access to the President.
“Let’s put it this way: From the very first time that I was spokesperson, I tried to be as scientific and as systematic as possible. In that sense, wala pong nabago (nothing changed),” he said.
“Pero ngayon po nalimitahan po tayo ng access kay Presidente dahil sa pandemya (But now, my access to the President was limited because of the pandemic),” he added.
Roque replaced Ernesto Abella as Duterte’s spokesman in 2017, but resigned from his post in 2018 to run for a Senate seat — a bid he eventually had to let go of because of health reasons. He was brought back in April last year in an attempt to better communicate the government’s COVID-19 response efforts to the public better.