Roque decries ‘unfair’ media reports on crowded Cebu event

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday slammed the supposed “unfair” coverage of some media outlets after netizens criticized his attendance in an event in Cebu province, which drew in a large crowd while failing to observe physical distancing.

In a press conference, Roque said he was resentful because media outlets were quick to point out how he was surrounded by crowds but seemingly ignored how Vice President Leni Robredo herself would even shake hands with individuals she would meet in relief operations and other activities.

“Ang ikinakasama ko ng loob, bakit ako pinupuruhan palagi ng Inquirer at ng ABS-CBN? Bakit noong nakikita ninyo sa screen si VP Leni nakipag-handshake-handshake pa, o hindi ba violation ito ng restriction on social distancing? Ang tanong ko naman sa mga media na mga kasama natin, patas sana (What makes me resentful, why am I being bombarded by Inquirer and ABS-CBN? How come, as you see on the screen, VP Leni would make handshakes, isn’t that a violation of the restriction on social distancing? I wish our friends in the media would be fair),” he said.

Roque said it seemed that media outlets purposely left out reporting about Robredo’s violation of quarantine protocols.

“Bakit ako nga purong-puro pero si VP Leni, ayan, bakit ni isang mention in any of the mainstream media wala? Wala ang Inquirer, walang ABS-CBN, hindi ba? So sa akin lang (Why is it all me but VP Leni, how come she wasn’t mentioned in mainstream media? No Inquirer, no ABS-CBN, right? So), let’s be fair,” he added.

He insisted anew that he did not break any quarantine rules because he repeatedly reminded the crowd to observe physical distancing.

“Ako, on record ako sinabi ko sa kanila, ‘hindi kayo sumusunod sa pag-iiwas’ at ang ginawa ko na nga lang, sinabi ko doon sa Mayor (It was on record that I told them ‘you’re not observing physical distancing’ and what I did was I told the Mayor), let’s end this program, and true enough, in less than an hour naman natapos iyong program (the program ended),” he said.

Roque said he had no control over the people who would go outside to see him.

“Nakita ko na iyong picture na iyan. Hindi naman namin pinapansin iyan because alam naman namin kasi, kaming mga may karanasan sa pulitika na anong magagawa mo ‘no eh binibigay iyong kamay. Sa akin parang (I saw the photos. We didn’t think too much of it because those with experience in politics know that what can you do if they offer their hand to shake. For me) let’s just be fair. It’s an appeal to our colleagues in the media ‘no – let’s just be fair,” he said.

Roque, meanwhile, denied that he had any plans to run for senator in the upcoming elections.

“Ay naku, okay na ako sa buhay ko (I’m already contented with my life). For 54 years of my life, 50 years of it I was a private citizen. Para bumalik ako doon sa dati kong role na kakalabanin ko na lang iyong mga presidente. Mukhang mas masaya iyon (I’ll just return to my old role of criticizing the presidents. It seems more fun), he said.

Last July, Roque also drew flak after photos of him in the water with dolphins in Ocean Adventure in Subic, Zambales went viral.

He has apologized but insisted that he did not violate quarantine protocols since he was considered an authorized person outside residence (APOR) and that he was permitted to travel due to his hog farm business.

Large gatherings are currently prohibited under guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Source: Philippines News agency

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