Roque admits doing campaign ad, but still undecided on 2019 bid

MANILAAlthough still undecided about pursuing a possible Senate bid in next year's midterm elections, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday confirmed that he has already shot a campaign advertisement which he has paid for "months before.

Well, the truth is I shot it because it's been paid for and you know, we've had plans. Whatever has happened in the last few days were really major deviation from plans that even the President knew about, Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Roque said he paid for the campaign advertisement himself but gave no further details.

On Oct. 4, during the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) alumni event in MalacaAang, President Rodrigo R. Duterte discouraged Roque from seeking a seat in public office, saying that the military will not support him.

Duterte instead offered Roque to continue working for government since he is not going to win in next year's polls anyway.

Roque, who earlier filed a leave on Monday, admitted that he was taken aback by Duterte's remark since the President practically endorsed his possible Senate bid in the past months.

For the past five or six months he's been calling me senator, he's been endorsing my bid for the Senate so I was taken aback with his statement also with PMA Alumni, Roque said.

It was a game-changer so to speak, it was a change in tone but I think there was an agreement on what I will be doing ahead of time, he added.

Roque, however, said talks between him and the President have yet to be concluded.

Asked if he was willing to accept the Press Secretary post being offered to him by Duterte should the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) be reverted to the Office of the Press Secretary, Roque said he has yet to decide on the matter.

However, he said he will notify the public as soon as he makes a decision.

If a decision has been reached then of course, I'll have to notify the people. First the MalacaAang Press Corps, because I owe you that, Roque said.

Roque said because he had to take back his leave to announce developments during Monday's Cabinet meeting, particularly on the President's order to allow unimpeded rice importation, he is still counting on filing a leave within the week.

I really will be on leave, but number one, the information of the rice liberalization had to be announced today to assure the people na may ginagawa po ang ating Presidente (that our President is doing something), Roque said.

He said he will be filing a leave on Thursday (Oct. 11) to attend a conference and will be back to attend regular Palace briefings on Monday (Oct. 15).

Asked what he would consider in making his decision whether to stay or leave the Cabinet, Roque said he wanted to be able to do his job to the best that he could.

Roque also denied that he was sulking or hurt despite not being informed about Duterte's hospital visit and unannounced trip to Hong Kong last week.

He earlier told media that Duterte did not have any checkup and that the President was in Davao City.

Wala naman pong dahilan para magtampo (There's no reason to sulk). It's just a matter of if at all, I need to be a pro in my job, and I think you know what I'm talking about. A pro, I have to be an absolute pro in this job, Roque said.

And much of this job really depends on how credible I am to you and to the people. And if I do not have information that is required to get that credibility, I will not be efficient in the job, that's why it will be half-baked, he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency