Roque sorry for blowing top at doctor, but stands by comments

Roque sorry for blowing top at doctor, but stands by comments
File photo shows presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
The STAR / Joven Cagande

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque apologized Friday for exploding at a doctor during a meeting of the government’s pandemic task force, but stood by his comments, saying he was advocating for the poor and hungry.

“Kinukumpirma ko po na tayo po’y naging emosyonal at pasensiya na po kaso, tao lamang,” Roque said during a press briefing.

(I confirm that I became emotional and I apologize, I’m only human.)

President Rodrigo Duterte’s mouthpiece said he blew his top after Philippine College of Physicians president Dr. Maricar Limpin turned emotional while appealing to the task force for Metro Manila to be placed under a hard enhanced community quarantine for two weeks.

“Parang naman importante rin po na marinig ‘yung damdamin noong mga maliliit na tao nating kababayan na nagugutom na po dahil sa parating pag-lockdown,” Roque said.

(I think it’s also important to hear the voices of poor people who are going hungry due to the repeated lockdowns.)

He added, “To those na hindi nakakaintindi doon sa tindi ng aking pagdaramdam para doon sa mga naghihirap, I apologize. But I cannot apologize for the message. Tulungan naman natin ‘yung mga naghihirap.”

(To those who can’t understand my strong feelings for those who are suffering, I apologize. But I cannot apologize for the message. Let’s help those who are suffering.)

Parts of a September 7 virtual meeting of the pandemic task force were leaked to the Philippine Daily Inquirer where Roque was seen lashing out at Limpin.

"Let me point out to everyone," Roque said while pointing his finger. "This group, they have never said anything good about the government's response."

In the said IATF meeting, Limpin warned that a GCQ in Metro Manila at this time could lead to daily infections going up even further. 

On Thursday, the country saw its new record-high cases at 22,820. Authorities also reported more than 20,000 additional infections since the beginning of the week.

"We won't be able to handle this," Limpin said in Filipino. "We're begging you, please, please, please."

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