Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said he and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas were still friends after the latter told him to watch his mouth when talking about the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in different localities in the country.
Roque made the statement after Treñas, in an interview with One PH, called him out when he said the spike in COVID-19 cases in Iloilo City was due to the people not following minimum health standards.
In a text message, Roque said he has already spoken with Treñas after his interview and that they were still friends.
“Of course [we’re still friends],” he said.
“My mother [is] from Jaro. I’m an Ilonggo,” he added.
On Monday, June 21, Roque said the real cause of the surge of cases was not the distribution of vaccines but because some Filipinos have become complacent and are not following the government slogan “Mask, Hugas, Iwas (Face mask, handwashing, physical distancing).”
“I can assure Mayor Treñas that, unfortunately, pagdating po sa pagtaas ng kaso, ang solusyon po talaga ay ‘Mask, Hugas, Iwas’ at kabahagi po ng solusyon ay bakuna (when it comes to the spike in cases, the real solution is ‘Mask, Hugas, Iwas’ and part of it the vaccine),” Roque said after Treñas appealed for more COVID-19 vaccines to stop the surge of cases in Iloilo City.
“Pero ang dahilan po talaga ng paglobo, yung kakulangan sa ‘Mask, Hugas, at Iwas.’ ‘Yan na po ay established fact. At tsaka yung mga new variants po (But the real cause of it is the lack of ‘Mask, Hugas, Iwas’ and that is an established fact. The new variants are also factors, as well),” he added.
Treñas, however, was not happy with Roque’s statement, telling him to stop blaming the people whenever cases of COVID-19 spike in certain areas.
“Ang masakit pa, tumataas ang kaso namin, kami pa ang may kasalanan. Ano ba ‘yan? Hindi naman tama ‘yan (What hurts is our cases are increasing yet it’s still our fault. What is that? That’s not right),” he said Tuesday.
“Instead of trying to look for ways to help out, he (Roque) is blaming us. What kind of person are you?” he added.
The Iloilo City Mayor said he and Roque are friends but advised him to watch his mouth.
“OK naman si Harry but minsan, mas mabilis ang bunganga niya sa utak niya (Harry is okay but sometimes his mouth works faster than his brain),” Treñas said.
“I think, as an intelligent person, dapat mauna ang utak mo sa bunganga mo (your brain should work first before your mouth),” he added.
Roque has repeatedly labeled himself as the “Pambansang Bibig” (Nation’s Mouth) because of his role as the President’s spokesman.