“Sa huling pagkakataon po, ito po ang inyong Spox Harry Roque nagsasabi (For the last time, this is your spokesman Harry Roque saying), I love you, Philippines!”
This was how a teary Harry Roque ended his last press briefing as the presidential spokesman as he formally announced his intention to run for Senator in the 2022 elections.
In his press briefing on Monday, November 15, Roque evaded questions about his candidacy, saying he has not made a decision yet. However, it was already confirmed by his staff that he will file his certificate of candidacy (COC) by 2 p.m.
Roque only made his big reveal after he was able to accommodate all questions from the press. He recalled that he rejoined the government to shed light on the government’s pandemic response.
According to Roque, he will leave his office better than when he first assumed the post. Before Roque, the presidential spokesman was Salvador Panelo who also served as chief presidential legal counsel.
“Kung inyong matatandaan, bumalik naman po ako bilang spox sa gitna ng pandemya noong isang taon para magbigay linaw sa panahon ng kalituhan (If you can remember, I returned as the spokesman in the middle of the pandemic last year to shed light during the time of confusion),” he said.
“Masaya akong mission accomplished na po tayo, ha? Iiwan ko ang trabaho ko na mas mabuti kumpara sa ating nadatnan (We have accomplished our mission. I will leave my job better than when I arrived here),” he added.
Roque said he hopes to return to Congress to help the people live during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Kinakailangan po mag-ingat-buhay para sa hanapbuhay at ‘yan naman po ang dahilan kung bakit babalik tayo sa larangan ng politika. Babalik po sana tayo sa Kongreso ng Pilipinas doon po sa kamara ng Senado (We need to take care of ourselves so we can work and that is why I am returning to the world of politics. I hope to return to the Congress of the Philippines there in the Senate),” he said.
“Mula sa inyong pagiging spox, ay nais ko pong maging action man sa Senado (From being your presidential spokesman, I hope to be an action man at the Senate),” he added.
The former Palace official likewise said that he pursued his Senate bid because he gave word that he will run if Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will also run for a national post.
“Tumakbo na po si Mayor Sara. Kinakailangan panindigan din ang ating nasabing salita (Mayor Sara already filed her candidacy. We need to stand by our word),” he said.
“Pero ulitn ko po, ang pagtakbo po natin para itaguyod muli ang ating mga buhay sa pamamagitan po ng pag-iingat-buhay (But let me repeat: our candidacy is to promote our lives by us taking care of our lives),” he added.
Before ending his closing remarks, his staff at the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson (OPS) played a video montage of Roque’s activities during the pandemic and a video message from the presidential daughter who expressed her support for his candidacy.
“Si Harry Roque ang ating Palace spokesperson ay magiging Senate Action Man (Harry Roque, our Palace spokesperson, will be a Senate Action Man),” Duterte-Carpio said.
“Ibigay natin ang todo at buong suporta natin sa kanyang kandidatura para sa Senado (Let’s give him our full support as he runs for Senate). We will see you in the Senate, Senator Harry Roque,” she added.
Roque had always expressed his intention to run for Senate while he is serving as the presidential spokesperson.
This is also not the first time he will be stepping down from his post in Malacañang for his political plans. He first did so in 2018 when he filed his COC for senator. Unfortunately, he had to withdraw his candidacy due to health reasons.
In June, Roque said that he would only pursue his Senate bid if presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio would run for president.
He said he has hinged his political future to that of Mayor Carpio.
He did not file his COC for senator during the filing period in October after Carpio chose to run for reelection.