Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque took his oath yesterday as President Rodrigo Duterte’s new spokesman.
What seems to be the controversial statement of “throwing hollow blocks” to those critical to the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has somewhat mellowed down after being done with his oath of office.
Roque toned down his rhetoric and urged pro- Duterte supporters to “not throw anything at legit journos” and give them “hot pandesal” instead. He also vowed to lecture Duterte defenders on “why rights of the free press are important.” *
|Presidential spokesman Harry Roque,said he would lecture Asec. Mocha Uson on the importance of mass media even as he urged pro-Duterte diehards to spare journalists from attacks. (Photo credit to Pres. Comm.)|
In a statement, Roque, laid out his track record as a lawyer and advised politicians to respect free expression and view it as “an ally in our collective goal for a stronger democracy.”
“Citizens should fight for their fellow citizens' right to say a contrary opinion. We cannot have a democratic state if citizens are not able to freely discuss issues that concern them in a rational, informed, and peaceable manner,” he said.
“Free expression rests on this assumption: that we can all engage in a deliberative and rational discourse, to arrive at a moment of solidarity, or at least, of understanding, the conflicting views notwithstanding,” he added.
“That applies to both journalists and social media activists.”
The statement was made after pro-Duterte blogger and radio host RJ Nieto (Thinking Pinoy) asked him in a radio interview aired over dwIZ on Friday to throw a hollow block at a Palace reporter ( Rappler reporter ), who has since filed a complaint against DWIZ.
Nieto, who maintains a blog with one million followers, slammed Roque for supposedly qualifying that “the rights of the free press [were] threatened under this administration.”
RJ Nieto also said Roque’s appointment as Duterte’s new point man was a mistake. *
“Nasaan ang bayag mo Spox, nag leave of absence ba? (Where are your balls, spokesman? Are they on a leave of absence?) ” Nieto said in a Facebook post.
“Alam namin na hindi perpekto si Mayor. Minsan talaga e nagkakamali yan. Halimbawa, nagkamali siyang i-appoint ka (We know that the Mayor isn't perfect. Sometimes he makes mistakes. For example, when he made the mistake of appointing you),” the blogger, who has launched tirades against members of the mainstream media in recent weeks, said.
Uson : I only attack media agencies that peddle fake news
Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson, who also runs a pro-Duterte social media blog,maintains that she is critical of those meda agencies when they have peddled fake news against this administration.
She also advised Roque to lecture all people on the importance of respecting journalists, not just Duterte supporters.
“Una po sa lahat hindi ko po inaatake ang pangkalahatang media. Iilan lang po ang talagang basura (First of all, I don't attack all of media. There just a few who are trash),” said Uson, who earlier used the term "press-titute" for media deemed critical of the administration.
She said that the media should also be reminded to respect the netizens' opinions. *
“May opinion ang media at may opinion din ang mga netizens. Galangin natin ng pareho at patas (Media and netizens have their own opinions. Let us respect them equally).”
Report from Philstar