MANILA - A professor of the University of the Philippines (UP) on Thursday urged Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque to calm down, after his tweet asking if alumni of the university who are now in high places in government had "honor and excellence" riled up the official in a television interview.
“Wala naman puwersahan kung sagutin o hindi. Just for the record, dati naman kaming magkaibigan at nagkasama na rin kami sa ilang kampanya lalo na sa press freedom issue at Ampatuan massacre commemoration. Dumarating ang pagkakataon na magkakaroon ng pagkakaiba ng saloobin,” said journalism professor Danilo Arao.
(No one is forcing you to answer or not. Just for the record, we were once friends and were together in several campaigns particularly on press freedom issue and the Ampatuan massacre commemoration. There comes a point when we differ in opinions.)
Arao's tweet came as a challenge in the wake of the Department of National Defense's (DND) unilateral termination of an agreement with the state university restricting access of state troops to campus grounds. Authorities are accusing the university of being a breeding ground for communist rebels.
But Roque took offense when asked to respond to Arao's tweet in an interview on CNN Philippines Wednesday.
Roque said he was not duty-bound by anything that Arao says and even told CNN anchor Pinky Webb that she was not being fair.
Roque then said he has offered his office as a venue for potential dialogue between the DND and UP on the issue.
“Ang advice ko lang sa dati kong kaibigan, 'wag pagbuntunan ng sisi 'yung isang news anchor, although she should be commended for standing her ground,” he said.
(My advice to my old friend is not to blame the news anchor although she should be commended for standing her ground.)
“Ngayon kung sinabi niya na yung kaniyang good office ay puwedeng maging venue at puwedeng maging mekanismo para sa diyalogo ng UP at ng DND, eh ‘di gawin din yan pero sana kalma lang po. 'Wag nang mapikon sana,” he said.
(Now, if he says that his good office can be used as a venue, a mechanism for dialogue between UP and the DND then let’s do that but keep calm. Let’s not be touchy.)