MANILA � Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Friday he will have the whole weekend to contemplate after President Rodrigo Duterte told him to stay and not to run as senator in next year's mid-term elections.
What will be my response, I need a weekend. I need to ponder on this point, Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
He earlier said he will wait for the President's advice before making his final decision on whether or not to run in the 2019 polls.
Duterte said before Philippine Military Academy (PMA) alumni in MalacaAang on Thursday that Roque will not win because the military will not support him.
Ayan sila si Roque, gusto mag-senador. Sabi ko, 'Tama ka na. Standby ka. Bigyan kita ibang trabaho. Hindi ka manalo diyan.' Bakit? 'Ah 'yung mga sundalo ayaw sa iyo (There is Roque. He wants to become a senator. I said, 'Stop it. You just stand by. I will give you a new job. You will not win.' Why? The soldiers do not want you), the President said.
Roque said Duterte actually informed him about his offer in a command conference prior to the President's dinner with members of the PMA Alumni Association, Inc.
While there was no categorical agreement on what to do, I did say I will consider it and I wanted a weekend to think it over, he said.
Roque said he feels that he is not in a position to stay as spokesperson after he failed to give the correct information as to why Duterte did not show up in a Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) event on Wednesday.
During Thursday's regular media briefing, Roque denied rumors that Duterte is ill, saying the President was just on day off.
Duterte, however, admitted later on the same day that he went to Cardinal Santos Medical Center on Wednesday for a diagnostic examination.
The President also said he underwent endoscopy and colonoscopy about three weeks ago.
Now the President, from his own mouth, took a diagnostic examination. Depending on the diagnostic examination or the results of the diagnostic examination, we will probably find out if it is serious or not, Roque said.
He said like the media, he was taken aback by the diagnostic examination but clarified, I did not lie to anyone, because I simply did not know.
And in my decision on whether or not to run, or to accept whatever the office the President may have, I will consider the fact that in this capacity as Spokesperson, I must know everything about the President, Roque said.
And I do concede that his going to that diagnostic exam was something that I did not know, and therefore I'm inclined to believe that perhaps I am not in a position to continue with this current function, he added.
The President appointed Roque, a former Kabayan party-list representative, as his spokesman in October last year.
Roque, who holds the rank of Secretary, replaced Duterte's first presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency