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Roque to Duterte critics: If you throw stones, I'll throw hollow blocks

Harry Roque said he would not allow disrespect of the president go unanswered. In this Oct. 19, 2016 photo, Roque poses with Duterte as part of the delegation to China. PPD/Toto Lozano, file

Roque to Duterte critics: If you throw stones, I'll throw hollow blocks

(Philstar.com) - October 30, 2017 - 2:29am

MANILA, Philippines — Harry Roque, a lawyer and party-list representative, has warned President Rodrigo Duterte's critics that he will "throw hollow blocks" at them once he is officially appointed presidential spokesperson.

In a video posted on Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson's Facebook page Mocha Uson Blog, Roque said in Filipino that he will not allow disrespect of the president to go unanswered.

"If, in the past, you were able to throw stones without anyone hitting back, be warned that if you throw stones, I won't just throw stones but hollow blocks," he said.

It is not true that those viewed critical of the president and his administration were allowed to do so without a response from the government. President Duterte himself has launched profanity-laced rants against the European Union, the United Nations, media companies and members of the political opposition.

"Just wait for the adobe and hollow blocks that I will throw at you," Roque warned in the same video where he also said he believes in allowing "the marketplace of ideas" to flourish.

"Stop throwing stones. If you want, just help the country with the many problems it is facing," he also said.

Roque said that he has not had a negative experience with the press in the past and that he is hopeful "that we will work together." He reminded the media, however, that he is a lawyer. 

Duterte: Roque appointment a personal decision

Duterte made the announcement of Roque’s appointment during a birthday party for the congressman in Davao City on Friday night.

“The reason is my personal decision. I am not about to explain why I did it,” Duterte said before he left for Japan Sunday evening.

Duterte is confident that Roque will be able to get his message across.

“He’s very competent, able, lahat na. It’s in the messaging actually. We cannot speak with the same words altogether, but how he would convey would be most important. I trust that he’d be able to come up to the expectations,” the president said.

According to the Official Gazette, the secretary and undersecretary of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson "speak on behalf of the president and are the primary sources of information regarding current issues and concerns related to the president."

READTough-talking Harry Roque now Duterte's spokesperson

Roque will attend his first Cabinet meeting on November 6.

Roque teaches law at the University of the Philippines and was the head of the Center for International Law, the Philippine-based human rights advocacy group whose lawyers represented families of the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre and the kin of transgender Jennifer Laude.

CenterLaw also represents victims of the government's campaign against illegal drugs in petitions filed at the Supreme Court. 

Officials of Kabayan party-list removed Roque as their first nominee to the House of Representatives last January. Roque disputed the decision and stayed in office.

Among the bases for Roque’s ouster was the November 2016 hearing at the House where he asked Ronnie Dayan, the driver and former lover of Sen. Leila de Lima, private details of their relationship. De Lima, a Duterte critic, is in detention over drug-related charges that she denies and says are motivated by politics.

Members of the minority bloc saw Roque’s appointment as an end to his “masquerade” as a human rights advocate. 

READRoque on being spokesman: I accepted the job to advise Duterte on human rights

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