Former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque speaks after filing his certificate of candidacy on October 17, 2018
MANILA, Philippines – Former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque surprised the public as he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator on Wednesday (October 17), the last day of filing.
His decision came days after he announced that he was considering the advice of President Rodrigo Duterte for him to run for a lower position which he eventually confirmed as a nominee of an environmental party-list group Luntiang Pilinas.
He said his main reason for finally aiming for a seat in the Senate is to relive and continue the legacy of one of the most brilliant senators in history, the Iron Lady of Asia, late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
“Ang aking babala ay ‘yung mga korap, mga bobo, mga tiwali sa gobyerno ay mumultuhin na po ni Miriam Defensor-Santiago sa pagkatao ni Harry Roque,” he announced.
Roque said he was grateful that the ruling party Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) offered him to run under its banner though he preferred to run under People’s Reform Party (PRP), the political party of the late Senator Santiago.
Roque claimed it was Mayor Sarah who arranged with PRP for his certificate of nomination and acceptance (CONA), a group which he implied is not a breeding ground for “traditional politicians.”
“Ang ating puso ay nasa Senado. Ang importante po talaga ay maisulong ang liderato na binigyang buhay ni dating Senador Miriam Defensor Santiago,” he said.
“Kinakailangan na mamili ang mamamayang Pilipino hindi lang basehan ng kasikatan, kinakailangang suriin ang kwalipikasyon ng mga kandidato…lalong lalo na sa senado. Ang Senado ay deliberative body. Kinakailangan po diyan ay may alam sa batas…bagong anyo ng mga maninilbihan sa senado,” he added.
When asked how his relationship with the President is doing, Roque said: “It’s a very good relationship.”
He stressed that he holds no grudges, “none at all,” against the President even with the sudden replacement of him as the Presidential Spokesperson by Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.
“Let me make it clear. I did not feel offended at any time during my stint as the presidential spokesperson even if there was at least one instance when I thought I could perhaps do my job better,” he noted. — Marje Pelayo