‘Give him a chance,’ Roque’s critics told


AN OPPOSITION leader in the House of Representatives on Tuesday urged his colleagues to give newly appointed presidential spokesman Harry Roque a chance to do his job.

“If there is anybody who can engage any President in a struggle of ideas in private consultation, it is somebody like Harry,” Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said. 

“This is our sense, having had the chance to work closely with Harry in the House minority and in the House rules committee.”  

Campos made the statement even as Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Tuesday took a swipe at Roque for threatening to throw hollow blocks and adobe bricks to the  critics vilifying President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement, Lagman 'Give him... said Roque’s statement was an “irresponsible response” to the criticisms against the President as well as a “hollow bluff” in comparison to the moderate and composed former pastor and his predecessor Ernesto Abella.

“Roque must realize that criticism and dissent form the bedrock of democratic institutions,” Lagman said.

Roque on Tuesday vowed to make changes in how Malacañang communicates with reporters as he sees a good working relationship between him and the members of the media. 

In an interview with reporters in Tokyo, Roque said he wanted to put Palace statements in the proper legal context “since the earlier statements were not issued by lawyers.”

Roque, a lawyer, said he was looking forward to working with the members of the media covering the President and other Palace events.

“I’ve always believed in the free marketplace of ideas, so let the free market of ideas flourish.”

Campos believes that Roque would actually be “in an excellent position to help provide guidance to the President on a wide range of policy matters, including human rights concerns.”

As spokesman, Roque would have the opportunity to personally engage President Duterte on a daily basis, Campos said.

“This will allow him to give advice to the President on a whole host of difficulties and on how to respond effectively to those issues, Campos said.

“And if the President is going to listen to anybody on policy matters, he will likely listen to somebody like Harry, who is not afraid to speak his mind and who can argue a case quite convincingly.”

Campos expressed confidence that Roque would be able to provide greater clarity to the President’s future policy statements.

Lagman earlier belittled Roque’s capability to use his new job to advise the President on human rights affairs, saying Roque would be a mere “mouthpiece.”

Roque had said he accepted his new post partly so he could reach out to the President on human rights issues that had embroiled his administration in controversy.

Roque built a reputation as a human rights crusader before he was elected party-list representative of Kabayan and his selection as Palace spokesman.

Topics: OPPOSITION leader , spokesman Harry Roque , Rep. Luis Campos Jr , Rep. Edcel Lagman , Ernesto Abella
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