MANILA - (UPDATE) Former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday filed his certificate of candidacy, pursuing his Senate bid after earlier saying he would run for party-list representative instead.
Roque told Palace reporters on Monday that he will run as a nominee of Luntiang Pilipinas party-list group at the House of Representatives.
But on Wednesday, the President's mouthpiece headed to the third floor of the Commission on Elections headquarters in Manila, where senatorial aspirants filed their COCs, instead of the eighth floor, where certificates of nomination for party-list groups were supposed to be filed.
In doing so, Roque ignored Duterte’s warning that he would not win in the upcoming elections.
The outspoken lawyer, who is a laggard in the recent senatorial surveys, was initially offered by the President to head the soon-to-be revived Office of the Press Secretary, but the chief executive changed his mind and said he would give the job to his chief legal counsel, Salvador Panelo.
Duterte said he decided to take back his job offer to Roque after the latter said he will just resign and lamented that he was left in the dark about the President’s trip to the hospital.
“Hindi ko man maintindihan. So I’m giving that margin of safety. Kasi sabi niya mag-resign siya because he didn’t know that I was in the hospital. So he was not informed. Hindi naman kailangan sabihin ko lahat eh. There are things which are limited to the immediate members of the family,” Duterte told reporters last Tuesday.
(I can’t understand him. So I’m giving that margin of safety. He said he will resign because he didn’t know I was in the hospital. So he was not informed. But I don’t have to tell everything. There are things which are liited to the immediate members of the family.)
“And sabi niya, mag-resign siya. Sabi ko ‘di sige.”
(He said he will resign. I said fine.)
Abandoning his seat in the lower chamber a year ago, Roque took on the job to speak on behalf of the feisty chief executive, replacing the soft-spoken pastor, Ernesto Abella.
Roque said he and Duterte had agreed that he would only stay as spokesperson for a year “to prepare me for… what would happen a year later.”
But things changed for Roque after Duterte himself doubted his chances of winning the Senate race. He said he was taken aback by the President’s words.
Roque, an activist lawyer and a former member of the academe of the University of the Philippines, has been criticized for supposedly abandoning his principles when he joined the Duterte government.