Roque asked: If Duterte ‘good communicator’ why do you have to explain him? | Inquirer News

Roque asked: If Duterte ‘good communicator’ why do you have to explain him?

By: - Content Researcher Writer / @inquirerdotnet
/ 05:50 PM August 10, 2021


MANILA, Philippines—In the many instances that President Rodrigo Duterte addressed the public, his talk is often peppered with expletives or his sentences incomplete.

But his spokesperson, Harry Roque, hailed his boss as the “best communicator.”


Experts, however, said a good communicator won’t need his sycophants to explain for him.

READ: People-blaming: Like rockfall disrupting steep PH vaccination climb


Prof. Maria Ela Atienza, of the Department of Political Science of the University of the Philippines (UP), said that since 2016, the President made public statements that his spokesperson and Cabinet officials were left “to explain or clarify.”

“He is expected to give clear statements,” Atienza told

Duterte, she said, “is not a good communicator.” “His statements are very general, vague, and not backed by evidence,” she said.

Last Monday (Aug. 9), Roque claimed that Duterte is still the Philippines’ “best communicator” despite his statements about arresting the unvaccinated during ECQ or sending them back home if they leave.

READ: Nothing wrong with Duterte remarks on vaccination, he’s ‘best communicator’ — Roque

In Filipino, Roque shifted the burden: “Local governments, you need to accept that it’s your job to organize vaccinations and not pass blame to (sic) our President. The President has no lapses in his way of communicating.”

READ: ‘Somebody’s threats vs unvaccinated people triggered public fear’ – Isko


Last Thursday (Aug. 5), the eve of the 15-day ECQ in the National Capital Region, thousands of Filipinos gathered outside vaccination sites in Manila, Las Piñas, and Antipolo.

The Manila Public Information Office said individuals from Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal went to the city’s injection sites, each with 2,500 coronavirus vaccine doses prepared.

READ: ‘Fake news’ outbreak sends crowds to vax sites before ECQ

However, the local government had the following crowd estimates in several vaccination sites:

Graphic by Ed Lustan

• SM San Lazaro – 7,000 to 10,000
• SM Manila – 5,000
• Lucky Chinatown Mall – 3,000
• Robinsons Manila – 4,000

The panic came days after the President threatened the unvaccinated that he would order police to escort them back to their houses because they are “walking spreaders.”

READ: Reckless statements behind jab panic: If that ‘somebody’ is Duterte

Roque said that the panic was not because of Duterte’s words, asserting that blaming the President was an attempt to put “color” to what he says.

READ: Those who refuse to get vaccinated vs COVID-19 may be arrested, Duterte warns

Atienza said, however, that the President is “not communicating properly” and that it is “actually dangerous since he is the Chief Executive.”

READ: Don’t want to get vaccinated? Stay home — Duterte

This was echoed by Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes, who said that Duterte is the “worst” communicator, saying that his public briefings “leave you more confused than ever [because] some of his thoughts are not well thought out.”

“He shoots from the hip and does not think of the repercussions of his statements,” Reyes told

In need of rescue

Atienza said in some instances, the President himself backtracks and tries to change the narrative. However, there are video clips and recordings to prove his own contradictory statements.

“Most presidents have spokespersons. But it is a difficult job if your President is Duterte who gives reckless statements and unclear orders,” she said.

Last July 29, 2021, after Duterte’s remark that those who want to be injected will be given doses, Roque clarified that vaccination is not yet open for everyone who wants it.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

Duterte: Give the vaccines to those who want to be vaccinated.

Roque: Hindi pa po sa ngayon dahil meron pa po tayong obligasyon, lalo na doon sa mga donated na bakuna, na ipa-prioritize pa rin natin ang A1, A2, A3.

Last June 21, 2021, the President said that he would order the arrest of individuals who do not want to get vaccinated. Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that “we have no such policy.”

READ: Duterte just exasperated: No arrest policy for those refusing vaccination – Nograles

Graphic by Ed Lustan

Duterte: Kung ayaw mo magpabakuna, ipaaresto kita at ang bakuna, itusok ko sa puwet mo. P*tang ina, bwisit kayo.

Nograles: As far as arresting those who won’t get vaccinated, we have no such policy.

On April 1, 2020, Duterte ordered the police and military to “shoot” those causing trouble during the lockdown. Days later, he clarified what he said.

Duterte (April 1): I will not hesitate. My orders are sa pulis pati military, pati mga barangay na pagka ginulo at nagkaroon ng okasyon na lumaban at ang buhay ninyo ay nalagay sa alanganin, shoot them dead.

Duterte (April 3): Abogado ako. I never said in public, shoot to kill, period. Hindi ako basta-bastang nagbibitaw ng salita. Sinabi ko if your life is in danger in arresting a person.

Surveys not enough

Asserting his claim that the President speaks effectively, Roque said that “if we believe the surveys, the President remains to be the best communicator and the best positive communicator in the country today.”

However, UP Political Science Professor Clarita Carlos said that “surveys are snapshots of feelings of 1,200 selected respondents, ostensibly representative of all 110 million of us.”

According to the 2021 second quarter survey by PUBLiCUS Asia, Duterte’s approval rating dropped to 57.93 percent from the first quarter’s 65 percent. His trust rating likewise dropped to 50.4 percent from 55 percent.

READ: Senators criticize Duterte’s arrest threat to COVID-19 vaccine skeptics

Atienza said Duterte’s ratings do not “automatically mean that he is a good communicator or people think he is one.”

She explained that while the ratings of Duterte are still high, Filipinos believe that it is “dangerous” to publish criticisms against the government and they “disapprove” of the government’s COVID-19 response.

READ: ‘Culture of impunity’ made Filipinos afraid of voicing criticism vs admin – Pangilinan

According to a survey by the Social Weather Stations, 65 percent of Filipinos – 29 percent strongly agreeing while 37 percent somewhat agreeing – agreed that “it is dangerous to print or broadcast anything critical of the administration, even if it is the truth.”

READ: More Filipinos believe printing, airing anything critical of gov’t is dangerous

The Asean Studies Centre survey showed that 17.9 percent of Filipinos “strongly disapprove” and 35.8 percent “disapprove” of the government’s COVID-19 response. The survey said that the Philippines had the highest strong disapproval rating of its government’s COVID response in Southeast Asia.

Election time

Saying elections will be held next year, political analyst Ramon Casiple said that “you cannot expect anything else, especially because the one speaking is the President’s spokesperson.”

He told that the President said himself that he is open to seeking the vice presidency: “Certainly, they will use this time to promote.”

He added that the administration is possibly prepared to launch attacks against those who will run for president to replace Duterte.


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TAGS: communicator, Harry Roque, Prof. Clarita Carlos, Rodrigo Duterte, spokesperson, University of the Philippines
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