Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has given a qualified apology after a video of him berating doctors who were pleading in a meeting for the government not to ease lockdown restrictions was leaked online.
"Unang-una kinukumpirma ko na tayo'y naging emotional, tayo'y tao lamang," he said during the palace briefing today, Sept. 10.
Roque's outburst during the meeting was reportedly triggered by a plea from Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), and Dr. Antonio Dans, an internal medicine specialist and epidemiologist, that the country do away with the planned granular lockdown and instead impose a "hard lockdown."
During the press briefing today, Roque explained why he lost it during the meeting
“Alam naman natin na maraming namamatay at mamatay dahil sa COVID pero nand’yan po ang realidad na sa Metro Manila, halos kalahati na din ang ating nabakunahan. Bakit po tayo mag hard lockdown nanaman?" Roque said.
Asked if he will apologize, Roque said he apologizes for the manner of his outburst but not on the message.
“Kung meron po akong naoffend sa aking pananalita, well, humihingi po ako ng abiso pero kinakailangan na pong pakinggan natin ang boses ng mga hindi naririnig sa IATF,” said Roque
“‘Yong mga na-offend po sa manner, I apologize… But the message remains clear, kinakailangan naman po pakinggan din natin ‘yong hanay ng nagugutom," added Roque. "That's the first time I lost my bearing in an IATF meeting. I have apologized for the manner, but I stand by the message."
Roque has been trending topic on Twitter following the leak of the now-viral video, with many citizens calling for a public apology to the healthcare workers. Former IATF adviser and PCP president Dr. Tony Leachon and Senator Risa Hontiveros have also called for an apology from Roque.
Banner photo: Presidential Photo / Joey Dalumpines