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Roque’s outburst vs doctors draws calls for his resignation, outrage from gov’t officials and netizens

By Brooke Villanueva Published Sep 10, 2021 3:44 pm

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s now viral video, where he was seen berating medical frontliners, has led to numerous—mostly heated—reactions from netizens, healthcare workers, and government officials. 

Roque's outburst during the meeting was reportedly in response to Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, who opposed the implementation of the general community quarantine in Metro Manila as it continues to deal with a rising number of infections.

In the clip, he was seen lashing out and stressing that the government is also helping save lives in the time of the pandemic, emphasizing that they “are trying to achieve total health.” 

“Who wants COVID to kill people?” questioned Roque. “Are you saying that only medical frontliners are concerned about the health of the people? We all want to save lives! For crying out loud! No one in the government wants a single life lost! No one! How dare you think that we are not considering steps to prevent the loss of lives!”

In an interview with One News after Roque’s apology, Limpin called for the spokesperson to resign.

“The President should actually remove him from office. Palitan na niya because he is not doing service to our president,” Limpin said as tweeted by One News reporter Greg Gregorio.

“As a spokesperson he can convey the message na hindi gano’n. Hindi katulad noong actions na ginawa niya. Definitely, his reaction is not appropriate for a government official.”

Various people have also reacted to the leaked video, including netizens, doctors, and local officials.

Only a few agreed that Roque had a point, with one saying that “people will never be satisfied with the response no matter what.”

While a Twitter user acknowledged that Roque’s job can be daunting, she tweeted that his reaction was “uncalled for.” 

Senator Leila De Lima found Roque's outburst "unwise." 

"Sec. Roque, is this how you treat our modern-day heroes? Remember, they're the medical experts, not you," said Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares.

In an interview on CNN Philippines, Senator Risa Hontiveros called Roque "very rude" as she sought an apology from him to the health workers he berated. "Diyan sa very rude na official na ‘yan, dapat talaga stand in the corner. He owes the doctors an apology."

Mong Palatino, former Kabataan party-list representative, said those who simply point out the administration’s mistakes and shortcomings should not be easily labeled “anti-government.” He also added the hashtag #KalmaAkoLangTo that Roque himself popularized at the time he became the subject of memes. 

Article thumbnails from Harry Roque's Instagram page