Roque vs pro-Duterte bloggers: They want him out
Pro-Duterte bloggers who have issues with the presidential spokesperson should address their complaints to the President, Harry Roque told reporters on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, Roque said he would relay to President Rodrigo Duterte the sentiments of his rabid supporters, particularly “Thinking Pinoy” blogger RJ Nieto, that he should be removed as spokesperson.
Role of media
In the end, it’s the chief executive who would decide if he wants to keep him or not, he said.
Nieto had slammed Roque for calling out the DDS, or die-hard Duterte supporters, and for defending the mainstream media and their role in a democratic society.
“It’s a matter that he should address to the President because the President appointed me,” Roque said in a press briefing.
Keep to the truth
“We serve at the pleasure of the President. All Cabinet members serve at the pleasure of the President,” he said.
But Roque also said he was just doing what the President told him to do, which is to do what is right and keep to the truth.
“I stated what I think is right, and I stated what I think is true. I am a spokesperson, I deal with the Malacañang Press Corps and I have long been an advocate of freedom of expression. I leave it at that,” he said.
He himself would not deprive bloggers of their freedoms, he said. As for their criticism, he said he considers these as “valid inputs in the free marketplace of ideas.”
Nieto, on his Facebook page, said Roque’s appointment was a mistake.
He asked when the rights of the free press were threatened under the Duterte administration, and said the presidential spokesperson should not dictate on the supporters of Mr. Duterte, who can think for themselves.
Roque, he claimed, seemed to be no different from the President’s critics.
Under his tutelage
Roque said earlier that he wanted to put another pro-Duterte social media figure, Assistant Communications Secretary Mocha Uson, under his tutelage so that he could explain to her the importance of mainstream media.
Uson, who maintains a Facebook page with 5 million followers, has been lambasting the media and Mr. Duterte’s perceived critics.
Roque said that had the media not exposed the failings of the previous administration, Mr. Duterte would not have come into power.
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