Former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque
MANILA, Philippines – Former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has decided to defer his senatorial plans and run for a congressional seat instead.
Roque had a personal talk with President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday (October 14) and from there, Roque decided to go with the recommendation of the President realizing his slim chance of winning in the senatorial race.
Instead, he will run as the second nominee of the environmental party-list “Luntian Pilipinas party-list” following Ciara Sotto, the daughter of Senate President Tito Sotto, as the first nominee.
“I am taking the advice of the President while it was always my intention to file a certificate of candidacy, for the position of senator. I will actually file tomorrow a certificate of nomination for partylist,” he said.
If given a seat in the Lower House, Roque vows to push for the closure of all open-pit mining operations in the country as pursued by the Duterte administration.
While he was offered by President Duterte with the position of press secretary, Roque admitted that he is not the best person for the position citing lack of experience and training.
He added that by going back to his private life, he can now freely express his views and opinions.
“It’s time to be my own person again… Yes, nothing has changed. I’m now back to the old person I was. I knew that as a spokesperson, I had no personal views; that period has ended. I’m able now freely to advocate for the many issues that are close to my heart,” he said when asked about his future plans.
Nevertheless, he will remain a supporter of the Duterte administration although he is not discounting the possibilities of him criticizing the government in the future.
“But even as my own person, I think the President has always respected who I am and we respect instances wherein I may have criticisms because he knows I don’t seek to overthrow him,” he said.
In the end, Roque clarified that he holds no grudges against the President and he does not regret serving as the administration’s spokesperson.
He maintained that he remains in good terms with the Chief Executive. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)