Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has spoken about Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz's inclusion in the 'Oust-Duterte' matrix of April 2019.
In a press conference in Subic Bay Freeport Zone today, July 27, the spokesman was asked if Malacañang would issue an apology for including Diaz in the matrix, to which he answered: “As spokesperson, wala po akong kahit anong binintang kay Hidilyn Diaz.”
"Hindi ko po alam kung ano yung sinasabi niyong matrix kasi sa tanggapan ko po, wala po kaming ganyan. Pero iuukit po natin sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas ang pangalan na Hidilyn Diaz."
The Oust-Duterte matrix was a diagram presented by former presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo linking people allegedly involved in ouster plots against President Rodrigo Duterte. The matrix included journalists, organizations, and lawyers alongside Diaz and sports reporter Gretchen Ho. Roque resigned as palace spokesperson in 2018 to run for the Senate, before returning to his post in 2020.
Panelo had backtracked on Diaz and Ho's inclusion a month after its release, explaining: "in the first place, hindi naman sila involved. Ano lang iyon eh, I think some of you or others who may have seen that diagram made a wrong analysis" as their social media accounts were linked to one Rodel Jayme.
Today, Panelo, who now serves as chief presidential legal counsel, released a statement congratulating Diaz.
“Her feat makes us Filipinos proud. Her getting the gold is a testament to the Filipino race’s talent and indefatigable spirit,” Panelo said in a press statement.
It serves as an inspiration to all Filipino athletes that getting gold in the Olympics is no longer a dream but a reality. Congratulations Hidilyn Diaz,” Panelo added.
The matrix came out in the thick of Diaz’ weightlifting training. She had spoken out on the issue on social media and dismissed the claims, which she said endangered her life beyond being a distraction.
“Dami ko pang goals sa life and Pinas para sumali sa ganyan bagay,” the Olympic gold medalist shared on Twitter in 2019. “Nashock lang ako nalink ako sa ganyan.”
Kaya nga! Dami ko pang goals sa life and Pinas para sumali sa ganyan bagay. Nashock lang ako nalink ako sa ganyan. ?? https://t.co/4XwJKVl84H— Hidilyn Diaz OLY (@diaz_hidilyn) May 8, 2019
Meanwhile, Roque also admitted that existing government support for the national athletes is still inadequate.
"Alam ko po talaga na kulang, parang minimum wage nga lang ang nabibigay," said Roque.
He said that the government will now look into how to increase support.
“Titignan po natin kung pwede pa natin maitaas ang kanilang allowances at benepisyo for being part of the national team,” Roque said.
"Titignan po natin kung paano natin ito mababago."
Photo from PTV and AFP / Vincenzo Pinto