Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque is now trending on Twitter due to a leaked video that showed him losing his temper and raising his voice while telling off a group of medical professionals in a telecon meeting.
In the video clip posted by Inquirer reporter Marlon Ramos, Roque can be seen angrily emphasizing that the government was also doing its part to save lives in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Do not sit there as if you are the only ones right. We are trying to achieve total health. Who wants COVID to kill people?” said Roque.
“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 government wants a single life lost! No one! How dare you think that we are not considering steps to prevent the loss of lives!” added a visibly fuming Roque.
Someone in the video, who has been identified by Inquirer as Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, can be heard trying to diffuse the situation by asking Roque to “relax.”
“No! They have to hear this,” Roque interjected as he cut off Bello.
“An entire government approach, thinking about economic ramifications, thinking about people who will go hungry, does not mean we care any less! And let me point out to everyone, this group, they have never said anything good about government response,” said Roque while waving his index finger.
Roque was reportedly responding to a plea from Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), not to relax quarantine rules in Metro Manila as infection rates continue to rise.
In another video clip from the Inquirer, Limpin can be seen pleading for the implementation of a "hard ECQ."
"Patuloy na tataas and definitely hindi ho natin kakayanin na and we are begging you to please please place lang ng konti yung NCR and other places po dito sa Pilipinas on ECQ. And we would like to request na sana po gawin ninyo na hard ECQ meaning to say tunay na ECQ hindi po yung ECQ na nakita natin nitong August," said Limpin.
Last week, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases flip-flopped as it held off an earlier announced relaxation of quarantine status in Metro Manila on the eve of its supposed implementation on Sept. 7, extending instead the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine for another week until Sept. 15.
The IATF wants to relax quarantine rules in Metro Manila to help spur economic activity at the onset of the holiday season by allowing local government units to implement granular lockdowns in areas with high cases, but the rules have yet to be firmed up.
Dr. Tony Leachon, former IATF adviser and PCP president, tweeted about Roque's outburst and demanded an apology.
“Heard about a Cabinet Secretary assaulting physician leaders during the last IATF meeting. We deserve an apology for this rude behavior!” Leachon said.
As of this writing, “Harry Roque” remains a trending topic in Twitter with 3,448 tweets and counting, majority of which are critical of Roque. (Bim Santos)