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Roque to talk to Mocha about the role of media

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said he would discuss the importance of media to Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson. Uson, meanwhile, said she is not attacking all mainstream media outlets. File
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesman Harry Roque will lecture Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson on the importance of media as he urged supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte to spare journalists from attacks.
 
Roque reminded Uson that the mainstream media had exposed the failures and irregularities of the previous administration, a move that he said helped Duterte won the presidency.
 
“The people would not have supported President Duterte if the media did not publicize the failures of the previous administration… There is nothing to fear about the media right now. The criticisms are being answered,” Roque said in a press briefing Monday in Malacañang.
 
“I like her (Uson), she likes me. I will forever be a law professor and I will forever consider individuals as under my tutelage on important matters. I hope Asec Mocha will accept being a student of the spokesperson,” he added.
 
 
Roque cited the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam which was extensively reported by the media in 2013.
 
“I guess in due course, we will explain in a manner understandable to all the importance of press freedom,” he said.
 
“The corruption, the pork barrel of the previous administration, we would not have known about them if not for the legitimate media.” 
 
Uson, a former starlet who supported Duterte during the campaign period, has been using her blog to discredit media outlets that produced reports critical of the administration. She has posted erroneous information and photos in her blog but still enjoys the trust and confidence of the president.
 
Sought for comment, Uson clarified that she is not attacking all mainstream media outlets.
 
“Only a number of them are garbage…And I do not attack them personally unlike what they are doing to me. I just attack their fake news,” Uson said.
 
 
Uson said Duterte’s supporters are not paid to bash or sow discord in social networks.  
 
“The DDS (Duterte Diehard Supporters) can think independently. We should remind not just the DDS to respect the media but also the media to respect the opinions of netizens,” she added.

Roque distributes pandesal to reporters

Before holding a press briefing, Roque distributed pandesal or bread to reporters covering the Malacañang beat. 
 
The presidential spokesman made the move days after threatening to throw hollow blocks at critics of Duterte.
 
 
Roque, later on, clarified his remark, saying Duterte’s supporters should not throw anything at legitimate journalists. He said journalists should be given hot pandesal instead.
 
 
During the briefing, Roque denied that his plan to hold press conferences in provinces was related to his political ambitions for 2019.
 
“There is no election period yet. But if the people really don’t want me to go to the provinces, I will heed that. But let’s see how the public will first respond to it,” he said.
 
“The rationale really is, in the course of answering calls from the media, some are saying, ‘Please, don’t stop your current policy of answering everyone because past spokespersons have ignored the local media altogether.’”
 
Roque held his first provincial press briefing in Cebu last Sunday.
 
 
Also Monday, former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella went to the Malacañang Press Working Area to bid farewell to Palace reporters.
 
Abella said he would miss answering reporters’ questions during press briefings.
 
Sources said the former spokesman may be transferred to a communication department of a line agency. 
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