'Bakit ka nag-positive?' Duterte asks Roque


Posted at Mar 15 2021 11:05 PM | Updated as of Mar 16 2021 09:35 AM

MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday asked the status of his spokesperson Harry Roque, who earlier tested positive for COVID-19.

Roque joined the weekly briefing with the Cabinet members online, hours after he announced that he tested positive for the virus.

When asked how he got sick, Roque said he is unsure where he contracted the virus, since he joined the vaccine rollout in different hospitals.

"Si Harry Roque, Harry, bakit ka nagka-positive?...Hindi ka naman...I sense no difference in your deportment," Duterte then told Roque, who assured the President he would continue working while in isolation.

"Tuloy tuloy pa rin po ang press briefing, pero naka-isolate po ako para hindi po ako makahawa," Roque added.

(We will continue with the press briefing, but I am currently isolated so as not to infect others.)

Roque, also spokesman of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, said he recently took 2 tests for the novel coronavirus.

He tested negative for COVID-19 on March 10, on the eve of his trip with Duterte to Dumaguete City.

Roque said he took another test on Sunday because he was supposed to meet Duterte on Monday. This is when he tested positive.

He also said he "did not have any close contact" with the President during their Dumaguete trip. 

The President's spokesperson has been criticized several times for allegedly breaking health protocols.

He earned public ire in July for visiting a resort and swimming with dolphins in Subic, Zambales during the height of the pandemic.

He and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo also received backlash over karaoke sessions despite health authorities' advise against it to prevent the spread of the infection.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government also investigated Roque for participating in a mass gathering in Cebu.

The Philippines, as of Monday, has recorded 626,893 total coronavirus infections after logging an additional 5,404 cases, the fourth highest reported in a day since the start of the pandemic in the country.