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Harry Roque comments on his signed letter found in Porac POGO, male model he appointed as assistant

By NICK GARCIA Published Jun 18, 2024 10:40 am Updated Jun 18, 2024 10:43 am

Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque pointed out that the documents bearing his signature found in a POGO raid in Pampanga weren't criminal in nature. He also made clarifications on the background of the executive assistant he had hired in 2021.

"Sinabi na ng pulis na walang kriminal na nakita sa mga sulat," Roque told News5. "'Yan po ay mga papeles ng appointment at wala talagang kriminal na intent diyan."

He also explained the appointment of a certain Alberto Rodulfo De La Serna as Executive Assistant III, with a Salary Grade 20 (nearly P60,000), in the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson in 2021. De La Serna won Mister Supranational Philippines in 2016.

According to Roque, De La Serna came from a political family.

"Ang lolo niya ay naging dating gobernador ng Bohol. Ang lolo na niya sa side ng nanay niya ay dating vice mayor," he told the media outlet.

"Siya ay isang college graduate at siya ay kinuha ko bilang isang IT," he added, noting De La Serna and his friends handled Roque's social media accounts when he was still presidential spokesperson and during the elections, when he ran as senator.

"Siya po ay dati ko lang empleyado. 'Yun lang ang alam ko," he said.

This comes after a letter showing Roque's name was recovered during a raid in a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator in Porac, Pampanga earlier this month.

The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) has cleared Roque's name, saying the documents found in the Lucky South 99 compound were "innocent" and "not of suspicious or criminal nature."

Financial support

The documents obtained also included the appointment of De La Serna as his assistant in the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson “effective January 4, 2021 up to December 31, 2021.” In his "affidavit of support," Roque stated he's providing financial support to De La Serna's trip to Poland, Ukraine, and Italy from Oct. 9, 2023, to Oct. 18, 2023.

"He will accompany me to these countries as an invited resource person to speak on an event on the Peace Process in Ukraine which will be Kiev, Ukraine to held from 13-16 October, 2023," the letter read. "A copy of the official invitation letter is attached hereto as Annex ':A;.' I need a travel companion since I am diabetic, with coronary stent and suffering from acute spinal stenosis."

Roque, in the letter, said he's "financially capable and willing to cover all expenses related to De La Serna’s travel including, but not limited to transportation, accommodation, meals, medical expenses, and any other necessary costs.”

Roque also acknowledged the "responsibility to ensure that De La Serna will not become a financial burden on any the resources or social services of any of the countries that we are visiting during our stay."

“In case of any unforeseen circumstances or emergencies during this time in Europe, I am committed to providing the necessary financial assistance to ensure his well-being," he added.

Roque previously said the documents were owned by his former long-time staff, who's now studying in Clark, which is close to the POGO hub.

PAOCC spokesman Winston John Casio noted that Roque served as a lawyer for Whirlwind Corporation, the company that leased its property to Lucky South 99. Casio said that there's "nothing criminal" for lawyering for the corporation.

“Likewise, finding a document of his special assistant in one of the buildings does not also constitute suspicious activity,” Casio added.

The PAOCC said it's not investigating De La Serna.