How long will Roque last?

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We do not wish to be unkind to former Rep. Harry Roque, the new presidential spokesman. Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, said it all of his former colleague in the House.

“The charade is over and Harry Roque’s dubious role in defending President Rodrigo Duterte’s wayward ways is confirmed,” said Lagman , adding “Roque is now liberated.”

The man Roque replaced, Ernesto Abella, is reportedly being considered by the president for an ambassadorial assignment.

Lagman in his statement pointed out that Roque, supposedly a member of the minority opposition bloc failed to criticize Duterte’s crude and unfounded utterances on extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs. He also cited Roque’s support for Duterte’s imposition of martial law in Mindanao and its extension: voting for a zero budget for the Commission on Human Rights, and the impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

“To be the communications czar of the President, one has to be an expert mortician undertaking the post mortem embellishment of Duterte’s crude pronouncements and policies,” said Lagman

His words, not mine. I’m merely quoting Lagman and making this clear to avoid being hit by hollow blocks.The new presidential spokesman said he will retaliate with hollow blocks at critics who throw stones at President Duterte to bring him down.

Those are strong words as if there isn’t enough violence going on. The press and government have always had an adversarial position. But Roque might have started on the wrong foot by being confrontational in his first public statement against administration critics and, quite obviously, the press. We do not envy the job of presidential spokesman. It’s a job where one can put his foot in his mouth or shoot yourself in the foot when your principal client disowns what you said on his behalf.

Already Roque might have spoken beyond his reach when he said he took the job so he can advise Duterte against giving controversial statements. Advise Duterte? The man is not known for taking unsolicited advice even from the closest people in his coterie.

A human rights lawyer known to take up sensational cases for underprivileged victims, Roque accepted the job of being the point man for the most powerful person in the country. That reversal of role was shocking to many but not totally surprising to some, certainly not to Lagman.

Many were stunned when President Rodrigo Duterte announced Roque’s appointment in Davao City. What Roque was doing celebrating his birthday in Davao is no longer a puzzle to people. Not known as a Digong camp follower, Roque’s appointment as presidential spokesman also lifted the mask he has been wearing since his election as Kabayan Party List representative.

The new guessing game in town is no longer why Roque took the job but how long he will last.

Roque’s job has already started even before he is yet to be sworn in by the President. The position of presidential spokesman does not require the confirmation of the bicameral Commission on Appointments unlike that of the press/communications secretary.

Can you imagine the storm of protests and questions opposition legislators will raise in the CA against Roque? Fifteen other Duterte appointees including Perfecto Yasay, Jr (Secretary of Foreign Affairs ). Gina Lopez (Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources) Judy Taguiwalo (Secretary of Social Welfare and Development) and Rafael Mariano (Secretary of Agrarian Reform) failed to pass the Commission on Appointment’s scrutiny.

We hope that with Roque’s appointment as presidential spokesman, other officials like Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, Presidential Legal Assistant Sal Panelo , et all will now desist from speaking to clarify and explain President Duterte’s statements.

CebPac closed check-in counters

Cebu Pacific, the low budget airline, was reprimanded by the Manila International Airport Authority for closing all its check-in counters during yesterday’s passenger rush. Some 245,000 passengers using the four airport terminals are expected to leave for the provinces on the occasion of All Saints Day or Undas.

Ceb Pac explained the inconvenience as a temporary and short inconvenience when the ground staff changed shift. But MIAA found the explanation as flimsy since the changeover shift can be done without closing the counters. Irate passengers slammed Cebu Pacific for the inconvenience.

Punny

I like to play with words. It is said that pun is the lowest form of wit as bun is made from a low variety of wheat. Here are some of my own punny ones:

On Margarita Araneta Fores—She is not the “Fores” of the poor among Bacolod’s low or no income class.

On cigarette smoking—It is not dying FOR a smoke but dying FROM a smoke.

On Stevie Wonder—He may be rich but his handlers could be stealing him blind.

More later.

 

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