MANILA - Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday told detained Senator Leila de Lima to stop 'attacking' him if she wants to avoid his ire.
Roque said he has only been making pronouncements against De Lima because the embattled senator has also been making statements against him and the administration.
"My advice to Leila de Lima, if you do not want to hear anything from me, stop saying things about me. Because remember, I am free, and I can reply. You're in jail," he told ANC Thursday.
"She can't take it against me if I respond to anything that she says. I leave her alone as a matter of policy because she's in jail. But stop attacking me. Stop expecting I will not hit back," he added.
The word war between the two public officials erupted after Roque greeted the neophyte senator "happy anniversary" on the first year of her detention.
De Lima responded by saying Roque "bartered his dignity and reputation as a human rights lawyer, in exchange for a senatorial berth."
In response, the human rights lawyer-turned-presidential mouthpiece said he wished the senator, who is facing drug charges, would spend the rest of her life in jail.
The Palace official also said he is not thinking of running for Senate now as he wants to focus on his job. He said he will only consider running if he has enough money to campaign.
Roque said he is standing by his statement that Senator De Lima, a known critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, deserves to spend her life in jail.