Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque admitted Thursday, Sept. 23 that it’s been his “longtime desire” to become a senator.
He will get a shot at achieving this dream come May 2022, if and when he confirms his candidacy under ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
“Pagdating po sa pagnanais, matagal na po nating ninanais iyan. Dahil minsan tayong naglingkod na sa Kongreso (When it comes to desire, yes it’s been a longtime desire. It’s because I served in Congress one time),” Roque said during a virtual press conference.
He was referring to his rather short stint as Kabayan Party-List congressman in the House of Representatives from July 25, 2016 to October 30, 2017. But according to him, he made the most out of his tenure.
“At tayo naman po ay hindi naging Committee of Silence – na nagsulong ng mga importanteng batas kagaya po ng Universal Health Care at ng libreng irigasyon at libreng tanghalian para sa kabataan (I wasn’t among those who belonged to the Committee of Silence — I pursued the enactment of important laws such as Universal Heath Care, free irrigation, and free lunch for children),” Roque said.
Roque vacated his House seat to become President Duterte’s mouthpiece.
As for his motivations to become a senator, the 54-year-old Palace official said he wants to “bring back the calibre” of the late Miriam Defensor-Santiago in the Philippine Senate.
“Napakalaking budget po ng Senado at kinakailangan naman talaga iyan magamit iyong pondo para sa mga indibidwal na may kakayahan na bumuo ng mga polisiya na makikinabang ang buong bansa (The Senate has a very huge budget and there’s a need to use these funds on individuals who have the capability to create policies that would benefit the country),” he said.
Last Sept. 8, the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) nominated Roque as part of its Senate slate in the upcoming May 2022 national elections. He has yet to formally accept it.
“Mag-uusap pa po kami ni Presidente, naka-facility quarantine nga lang po ako kaya mahirap kaming makapag-usap (The President and I will talk about it, I’m currently on facility quarantine, that’s why it’s hard for us to talk),” said Roque, who had just come from New York in the United States (US).
“Pero I am now on the [fifth or sixth day] at inaasahan ko po next week ay pupuwede na po kaming makapag-usap (and I expect that next week, we would be able to talk),” he said.
Incidentally, the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the polls will also begin on Oct. 1. Should Roque file his COC for his senatorial bid, he would be deemed resigned from his position as presidential spokesperson.
Such will be the case with all appointed government officials who file COCs.
The Senate is often called the “higher chamber” in the legislature, with the House being the “lower chamber”.