Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told Malacañang-beat reporters Tuesday, Sept. 14 to “refrain from asking for reactions”.
This “suggestion” from the Palace mouthpiece came exactly a week after his outburst against pro-enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) doctors in an Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) meeting.
A small part of his angry speech was leaked to the media. As expected, this led to netizens’ merciless bashing of Roque.
During a virtual press briefing Tuesday, Roque was asked to react to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año’s supposed disapproval of his actuations toward Dr. Maricar Limpin in the Sept. 7 IATF meeting.
Año reporteldy said government officials should be “open to more ideas in a professional manner”.
To this, Roque said: “I’ll make it very clear I don’t have to react to all statements, people are entitled to their opinions; that’s how a democracy works.”
“So next time po (For next time), I would suggest that the Malacañang Press Corps refrain from asking for reactions kasi (because) it’s a free world po. Anyone can say anything and everything and of course we will respect whatever people say. In the same way that we also want respect for our opinions,” he added.
Roque has previously apologized for his manner of speaking to Limpin and Dr. Antonio Dans, who last week appealed to the IATF to implement an ECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila. This was due to the current surge in the number of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases per day in the country.
Also during the Tuesday briefing, Roque insisted that never thought about undermining the heroism of the country’s medical frontliners. He said that he would prefer to broadcast the entire segment of his response to the two doctors in that regard.
“I started my intervention by recognizing po yung kabayanihan ng mga (the heroism of the) health workers. Pero sa mga panahon na ito, lalung lalo na napakatagal na ng mga lockdowns, isipin naman po natin yung mga hanay ng mga walang trabaho a nagugutom (But times like these, especially when the lockdowns have lasted for so long, we should also think of the welfare of the jobless and the hungry),” he said.
Roque previously said that the proceedings in IATF meetings must be kept secret from the public in order to facilitate frank and honest debate among members.