Harry Roque turns back on Malacanang, seeks return to his 'happy place'

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 15 2018 04:16 PM

MANILA - Outgoing Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday said he was looking forward to working at the House of Representatives again as he leaves the executive branch to gun for a Congressional seat.

Roque, who was tapped to be President Rodrigo Duterte's mouthpiece last year, announced in a Palace press briefing that he will run as a nominee of party-list group Luntiang Pilipinas.

"I’m somehow relieved, wala na akong tension because the thought of running for the Senate was really problematic," he told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview.

"I’m very much relieved and I look forward to going back to what I consider my happy place, which is Congress," he said.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, any person holding a public appointive office or position "shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy."

Roque was representative of Kabayan party-list before joining the Cabinet. He initially wanted to run for Senate, but Duterte said he would not win.

He admitted that he let go of his Senate dream because he had "very low ratings in the survey."

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo has been named Roque's successor even prior to Monday's announcement that he would be running as a party-list nominee.

Roque's resignation as Duterte's spokesman is deemed "automatic" when he files his certificate of nomination at the Commission on Elections office in Manila on Tuesday morning.

Asked if he is still technically the Presidential Spokesperson, Roque said: "I don’t know, kasi for example, si Alan, when he made known the fact that he was running, meron nang kapalit agad. Ganun siya, para walang vacuum."

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has signified that he would run as Taguig representative, seeking to replace his sister, Pia Cayetano, who would be a senatorial candidate under the Nationalist People's Coalition.