'Mayor Isko did not tag me as 'without manners', says Roque

Published September 10, 2021, 3:59 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque doesn’t think Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso was alluding to him when the latter made comments about a “disrespectful” govenrment official that ought to be sacked.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (left) and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno (File photos/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“I don’t think it was me,” Roque told reporters during a noontime virtual press briefing Friday, Sept. 10.

Earlier, Moreno, whose posturing as of late is aligned with the opposition, appealed to the President to keep his supposed promised of removing uncaring and insensitive people in government.

“Mr. President, nakikisuyo naman kami, nangako ka naman sa amin eh, tanggalin mo na ‘yong mga taong walang malasakit at walang modo at kung sumagot pabalang-balang, na para bang ang buhay namin walang kwenta (Mr. President, we appeal for you to do what you’ve promised, please remove the people who are uncaring and disrespectful, those who reply to us in a sharp tone as if our lives are worthless),” Moreno was quoted as saying last Wednesday.

To support his claim that he can’t be the one being referred to by the popular Manila mayor, Roque pointed to his outburst during an Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) meeting Tuesday that only became public hours before the Wednesday briefing thanks to a leaked video.

According to Roque, he is one with the lesser fortunate Filipinos that Moreno has been speaking for.

“Ngayon po nasa publiko na nagwala nga ako nung nabalitaan ko na may ilang doctor na gusto nanaman ng two-week lockdown (Now it’s out in public that I lost my temper after learning of the proposal of some doctors for another two-week lockdown),” he said.

“Nagwala nga po ako dahil tama na po ang paghihirap ng mga sambayanan. Tama na po yung pagkakait ng karapatan na magkaroon ng hanapbuhay. Hindi po ako yung hindi nakakaramdam sa kahirapan ng nakakarami (I lost my temper because we’ve had enough of the people’s suffering. Enough of denying them the right to work. I’m not the one who can’t feel the suffering of the majority). And this was what was made apparent nung isina-publiko nila itong aming exchange sa IATF meeting (when my exchange with the doctors during the IATF meeting was made public),” the Palace mouthpiece added.

Roque earlier said in the press briefing that he became emotional in the IATF meeting as a result of his opposition to another hard enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). He said such lockdowns cause Filipinos to go hungry.

The context of Moreno’s appeal was his request for the Duterte administration to prioritize the purchase of supposed anti-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) drugs such as Tocilizumab. The mayor said Filipinos need access to the medicine in order to protect their lives amid the pandemic.

Roque responded to Moreno’s appeal for the procurement of medicines last Monday, but he essentially brushed it aside.

“Kaibigan ko po itong si Yorme, pero gaya po ni VP [Vice President Leni Robredo], eh kandidato rin po yan (Yorme is my friend, but like VP, he is also a candidate). Mark my word, hindia pa po nag-aanunsiyo yan pero sigurado po ako kandidato (he has yet to make an announcement, but he will be a candidate).

“Kaya asahan po natin itong mga ganitong salita dahil kinakailangan nilang ligawan ang mamamayan (That’s why we should expect these remarks because they need to woo the public),” the spokesperson said.

Roque was nominated as part of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan’s (PDP-Laban) senatorial line-up in the May 2022 national elections.