Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, September 12, called Presidential spokesman Harry Roque “rude” and a “bully” after his outburst against doctors for their criticisms of the government’s pandemic response.
Robredo said that the Palace official should stop attending meetings of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, in which he is a member, if he cannot handle criticisms and contrary opinions.
“Kung merong ibang tao na kausap mo na iba iyong pagtingin sa mga bagay, wala ka namang karapatan na mag-react (If there are people who have a different opinion, you don’t have the right to react) the way na (that) Secretary Roque did. Kaya nga may IATF para mapakinggan lahat (The IATF exists to hear everybody),” Robredo said during her weekly radio show over dzXL.
“Kung hindi ka agree, okay naman sabihin mong hindi ka agree pero wala kang karapatan na mambully, mambastos (If you don’t agree, it’s okay to say that you don’t agree but you don’t have a right to bully, to be rude),” she added.
The purpose of the IATF meetings is “to harmonize” different opinions and views to come up with the right solution to the problem.
“Kung ayaw mong makinig ng (If you don’t want to listen to) contrary opinion, h’wag ka nang pumunta dun kasi iyon ang (don’t go there anymore because that’s the) purpose ng (of the) meeting,” Robredo said.
But Roque could not seem to handle different perspectives as he was caught during a teleconference call with a medical experts’ group berating health care workers for opposing the government’s plan to shift to granular lockdowns from region-wide quarantine classifications.
In the leaked video, the spokesman and future guest senatorial candidate of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s faction of the PDP-Laban repeatedly pointed his finger and raised his voice as a response to Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP).
Roque accused her group of having “never said anything good about the government response” to the pandemic.
The vice president said Roque’s anger was “very misplaced” and said that if anyone was politicking, as the Palace official claimed, it was them.
“Kung nakinig lang tayo sa (If we only listened to our) health experts from the very start siguro ngayon hindi na kasinglala (maybe now, it is not as worse),” Robredo lamented.
She scoffed at Roque’s allegations that the opposition wants the government to fail because if it does, the opposition will go down as well.
The reason why the IATF exists is for “convergence” of different agencies, expert opinions, and sectors.
“Kasi kaming mga (Because us) government officials nandiyan kami hindi para sa sarili namin pero nandiyan kami kasi nirerepresent namin ‘yung taong bayan (we are there not for ourselves but we are here to represent the people),” she said.