Roque vows quick action vs ‘bashers’

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INCOMING Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday warned administration critics they risked being hit by hollow blocks if they would throw stones at President Rodrigo Duterte.

“I am giving notice to these ingrates who are out to vilify the President. If, in the past, you were able to throw stones without anyone hitting back, be warned that if you throw stones, I won’t just throw stones [back] but hollow blocks,” Roque said in a video posted on Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson’s blog. 

Roque said he would not allow disrespect of the president to go unanswered.

“Stop throwing stones. If you want, just help the country with the many problems it is facing,” he also said.

Harry Roque

Contrary to Roque’s pronouncements, however, President Duterte himself launched profanity-laced rants against those viewed as critical of the administration—including the European Union, the United Nations, media companies and members of the political opposition.

He also stressed he was ready for the criticisms and the kind of language the detractors would use against the administration.

Roque also urged the critics to help the Duterte administration instead of crucifying it. 

On Sunday, Duterte said he would not reveal his reasons for replacing outgoing presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, insisting his decision was personal.

“That is my personal decision. I am not about to explain why I did it,” the President said. 

Praising Roque, a human rights lawyer, Duterte said he believed the former minority solon would be able to meet his expectations.

“He will carry my word to the public and he’s very competent, able, everything,” Duterte said. 

“It’s in the messaging, actually. We cannot speak the same words altogether but how he would convey that message from me would be most important,” he added.

Abella, meanwhile, reported to have been offered an ambassadorial post, expressed support for Roque who would soon speak on behalf of Duterte.

“It is clear the President has very sure instincts and that Roque meets his expectations,” Abella said in a text message to reporters, who also gave assurances he would be staying in government.

“I believe [Roque] will be more than adequate for the occasion and will deliver the right support needed for PRRD’s program of government,” he added. 

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