Roque: Up to IATF to decide on filing raps vs person who leaked video of his outburst

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 13 2021 02:39 PM

MANILA - Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday said the person who leaked the viral video showing his outburst against a group of doctors may face charges for supposedly revealing government secrets and violating the data privacy law.

In an online press briefing, Roque said the person may also be held liable for supposedly violating the Anti-Wiretapping Act. 

It is up to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19 to file possible charges against the person, he said. Roque is also spokesman of the IATF.

The video obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) last week showed Roque berating a group of doctors who warned that relaxing lockdowns could lead to a further spike in COVID-19 infections.

"Sa tingin ko po, liable, at liable din po for revealing public secrets. Pero hahayaan ko na po 'yan sa IATF at 'yan naman po ay napag-usapan sa IATF," said Roque, a lawyer.

(I think the person is liable, also for revealing public secrets. But I will let the IATF to decide on it as the matter is being discussed by the body.) 

It was also not immediately clear if the IATF already identified the person who shared the video clip to the PDI journalist.

“Do not sit there as if you’re the only ones right. We’re trying to achieve total health. Who wants COVID to kill people?” Roque was seen saying on the video during a Zoom meeting.

“Are you saying that only medical frontliners are concerned about the health of the people? We all want to save lives. For 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 said the government was employing a whole-of-government approach, considering economic activities and the people who would go hungry because of the lockdowns.

On Saturday, Philippine College of Physicians head Dr. Maricar Limpin, who was at the receiving end of Roque's outburst, said he should resign out of delicadeza.

Roque had apologized to health workers and said he was just "human" who became emotional.

Despite this, he said he stands by his message. 

Several medical groups are asking for Roque's resignation after what happened, noting that he insulted those in the frontlines of the pandemic. 

Vice President Leni Robredo said that while it is fine to have disagreements during meetings, no one has the right to bully and be rude to others, as Roque did.

Robredo said Sunday that meetings like these were important to harmonize views coming from different sectors so government can find solutions.

“Ang mga doktor na nandoon… nire-represent nila ang sektor nila kasi sila ang nangangalaga ng mga may sakit, sila na ang matagal nang nagsasakripisyo… Kung ayaw mong makinig ng contrary opinion, 'wag ka nang pumunta doon,” she said.

(The doctors there represent their sector who cares for the sick, who have been sacrificing for so long...If you don't want to hear contrary opinion, don't attend the meeting.)

“Okay lang na di ka agree. Pero wala kang karapatan na mam-bully, mambastos,” Robredo said in her weekly radio program when asked about Roque's outburst.

(It's okay to disagree. But you have no right to bully, disrespect them.)

“Kung merong tao na kausap mo na iba ang paningin sa mga bagay, wala kang karapatan na mag-react the way Secretary Roque did," she said.

(If you're talking to people who have a different point of view, you have no right to react the way Secretary Roque did.)

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