'Only Duterte can fire me', says Roque, as IATF mulls legal action vs. persons who leaked info

Published September 13, 2021, 2:17 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said that the government’s pandemic task force has discussed the possibility of filing a case against the person who leaked footage from one of their meetings, saying that person can be liable for violating the Data Privacy Act.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explains the reason for his outburst during a virtual press briefing Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 (Screenshot from Facebook live)

Roque made the statement after he was caught having an outburst against medical personnel during a meeting with some members of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases last week.

In his press briefing on Monday, September 13, Roque believed that the person responsible for leaking footage of his outburst broke the law.

“Sa tingin ko po liable at liable din po (I think they are liable and that they are also liable) for revealing public secrets,” he said.

“Pero hahayaan ko na po ‘yan sa IATF. ‘Yan naman po ay napag-usapan kanina sa IATF (But I leave that to the IATF. The IATF has discussed this earlier, anyway),” he added.

Roque initially said that the proceedings in IATF meetings are supposed to be secret so as to allow for an honest debate among the members.

He later confirmed the video and explained that he became emotional as he spoke for the “hungry and lockdown-weary” Filipinos.

Roque’s outburst trended on social media and caused Filipinos to call for his resignation or for President Duterte to fire him, along with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

However, on Monday, the Palace official said his stint in government was not up to his critics.

“Unfortunately, only the President can fire me and only the President can fire Secretary Duque,” Roque said.