Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reprimanded ABS-CBN and Inquirer for reporting the breach of quarantine protocols during the event that he attended in Madridejos town in Bantayan Island, Cebu then dragged Vice President Leni Robredo into the issue.
Roque admitted that a violation was committed, saying that people gathered close to each other in complete disregard of physical distancing as they listen to him and to other government officials.
“I was totally taken aback by the huge crowd that came when I went to Cebu yesterday, November 27, to grace the official opening of the Bantayan Island Airport. The venue was open air as it was held by the beach, but I had to reiterate for the audience to keep on their masks,” the Palace official narrated.
A few days later, in a press briefing, Roque chided media organizations, specifically ABS-CBN and Inquirer, for reporting his latest violation. He then flashed a slideshow baring photos from Robredo’s visit of typhoon-hit areas where she is shaking the hands of residents.
“Ang kinakasama ko ng loob, bakit ako ang pinupuruhan palagi ng Inquirer and ng ABS-CBN? Bakit noong nakikita nyo sa screen si VP Leni, nakipag-handshake handshake pa, hindi ba violation ito ng restriction on social distancing? Ang tanong ko naman sa mga media na kasama natin, patas sana,” he lamented.
“There’s going to be an investigation, well and good, para makita na pinaalalahanan ko pa yung mga tao na mag-iwas. Siguro ang hindi ko na-realize, I’ve come to a point na talagang mga tao, lalabas para makita ako. Siguro po hindi na ako lalabas pag may mga crowd,” he added.
For his part, Robredo’s spokesman, Barry Gutierrez, said government officials should know when to be accountable.
“I look forward to the day when officials in this administration can just be accountable, accept responsibility, and commit to doing better, instead of bashing the VP every time the Filipino public call out their shortcomings. But I’m not holding my breath. Nagpa mananita ka sa beach tapos si VP pa rin ang ituturo mo? Wow lang,” said Gutierrez.
This is not the first time Roque is criticized for his violation of quarantine protocols during public appearances.
On July 2, the Palace official was hit for making a stop in Subic Bay and posting photos with dolphins during a time when residents of Metro Manila were told not to leave their homes for leisure purposes. He defended that the stop was not for leisure.
More recently, he was criticized for singing at a bar in Baguio City as a means of “unloading” while nearby the flooded Cagayan province. The health department earlier discouraged Christmas caroling and the use of karaoke as loud singing might spur the spread of COVID-19.