MANILA, Sept 10 (Mabuhay) — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque owes doctors an apology over his “rude behavior” toward them, Senator Risa Hontiveros said Friday, amid a leaked video showing Roque scolding a doctor.
“D’yan sa very rude na official na ‘yan, dapat talaga stand in the corner. He owes the doctors an apology,” Hontiveros said.
On Thursday afternoon, Dr. Tony Leachon, former special adviser to the National Task Force against COVID-19, tweeted about a certain Cabinet secretary who “assaulted” the health professionals in the last Zoom meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
“We deserve an apology for this rude behavior!” Leachon wrote.
In a video post on Twitter that has since gone viral, Roque was seen scolding doctors while asserting that the government is also doing its part in containing the virus.
“Do not sit there as if you are the only ones right. We’re trying to achieve total health. Who wants COVID to kill people? Are you saying that only medical frontliners are concerned about the health of the people? We all want to save lives,” a visibly agitated Roque said in the video.
“We’re crying out loud. No one in the government wants a single life lost. No one! How dare you think that we are not considering steps to prevent the loss of lives?” he added.
Roque has yet to comment on the issue, although in a text message to Super Radyo dzBB, he said IATF meetings are supposed to be “secret.”
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Roque hit back at health workers who are criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte’s COVID-19 response.
“Di ko alam saang planeta nakatira ang mga health workers na ayaw kay Presidente [I don’t know what planet they’re on, the health workers who don’t like the President],” he said.
Roque was responding to the statement of Medical Action Group (MAG) chairperson Dr. Nemuel Fajutagana, who said that the President and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, have no right to run for a national post in May 2022 polls, considering that the government’s pandemic response has been marred by issues such as the misuse and underutilization of funds; the snail-paced vaccination rate; and the delayed release of health workers’ special risk allowances.
Roque then said that MAG is a small group and that health workers are largely in favor of the President’s COVID-19 response. (MNS)