By Genalyn Kabiling
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. has disputed speculations that he is using his new government post to boost his chances in the 2019 senatorial elections.
Roque recently kicked off his provincial tour to meet the local press with his visit to Cebu City on Sunday but denied it was part of premature campaign for the next polls.
“I don’t think so. There is no election period yet,” Roque said during a Palace news connect when asked if he was using his office for early campaigning.
“But if the people really don’t want me to go to the provinces, I will heed that. But let’s see how the public will first respond to it,” he added.
So far, Roque claimed there was no complaint during his recent interaction with the Cebu-based media on Sunday. “Certainly, on the basis of my first trip to Cebu, the local media has seemed to be very appreciative of the initiative,” he added.
In Cebu, Roque said he intends to establish satellite offices in the provinces to reach out to local journalists. He claimed that some media entities in the provinces have complained about not getting their equal attention from the Palace for interviews.
Roque, a Kabayan Party-list lawmaker, has not ruled out the possibility of running for senator in the next elections. The human rights advocate earlier said he was leaving his fate in the Lord’s hand.
But for now, Roque promised to do his best to serve as the President’s spokesman, communicating his programs and policies to the public.
The new Palace executive also bared plans to reach out to Duterte’s supporters through Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson to explain the importance of press freedom in the country. The move will be taken after some journalists have drawn online threats from the President’s rabid loyalists.
Roque acknowledged that the legitimate media entities have been crucial in exposing the anomalies involving past administration officials such as the pork barrel scam.
“In due course we could explain the manner na maiintindihan ng lahat na importante ang malayang pamamahayag (to explain to everyone the importance of the freedom of the press),” he said.
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