WATCH: Roque mulls leaving his post
Harry Roque Jr. confirmed that Duterte offered him a post that “does not exist yet.” He did not elaborate.
Presidential photo/Toto Lozano
WATCH: Roque mulls leaving his post
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - October 5, 2018 - 6:40pm

MANILA, Philippines — Is Harry Roque Jr. quitting as presidential spokesperson? The former human rights lawyer turned public official said he needs to ponder.

This, after being “in the dark” about President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent hospital visit.

On Thursday, Roque said the chief executive had “private time” to explain his non-appearance at a Palace event.

But on the same day, Duterte said that he went to Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City to undergo tests.

Roque on Friday said he did not lie to the public about Duterte’s condition, but was unaware that the president paid a visit to the hospital.

“I do concede that him going to the diagnostic exam was something that I did not know. I’m inclined to believe that perhaps I’m not in the position to continue with this current function,” he said.

Pressed by Palace reporters if he was quitting as spokesperson, Roque said he would bare his decision on Monday.

New job

Roque also confirmed that Duterte offered him a post that “does not exist yet.” He did not elaborate.

“We had a command conference where the president asked me to stay and offered me a position, which current does not exist yet. While there was categorical agreement on what to do, I did say, ‘I’ll consider it.’ And I want a weekend to think it over,” the president’s mouthpiece said.

But during the Senate hearing on the 2019 budget of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the president is “receptive” to the proposal of reviving the Office of the Press Secretary to replace the PCOO.

During his speech to Philippine Military Academy alumni, Duterte said he had told Roque to quit his Senate plan and offered him a new job in the government.

“Roque and others want to become senator. I said to [him]: ‘Stop it. Just be on standby. I’ll give you another job. You won’t win,” the president said in Filipino. 

The reason? The military does not like Roque, Duterte said.

Roque’s statement on whether to resign to pursue his senatorial bid or accept the new job comes a week before the filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2019 midterm polls, which is slated from October 11 to 17.

The latest Pulse Asia survey for next year’s senatorial candidates showed that 76 percent of the respondents said they were aware of Roque. But only 7.7 percent said they would vote for him.

He ranked in the 29th to 36th bracket.

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