It appears new Palace spokesman Harry Roque has had a change of heart. After initially announcing that he himself would throw hollow blocks at the President’s critics, now it seems he is trying to win over the media—those he calls legitimate, at least.
To complete the gesture he brought pan de sal for Palace reporters at Monday’s press conference.
He then exhorted those who thought of themselves as DDS—Diehard Duterte Supporters, not the alleged death squad in the President’s home province—to recognize the role of journalists in upholding people’s constitutional freedoms.
As a result, the President’s staunch supporters have expressed their dislike of Roque this early.
When the new spokesman was being interviewed over the radio last week, a commentator—a known DDS and contractor for the Department of Foreign Affairs—asked him to throw hollow blocks specifically at a female reporter whom he believed was biased against the President in her reportage.
Roque registered no objection during the interview. The reporter filed a complaint against the media organization where the program airs, before the Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines released a statement deploring the interviewer for inciting Roque to commit an act of violence.
But why is there even a need to throw bread or hollow blocks, literally or otherwise, at each other?
Only a terribly insecure administration would be sensitive to criticism and dismiss any negative publicity as fake news or the handiwork of destabilizers.
And only a legion of unthinking Pinoys would take down an individual or an organization for the plain fact that they are critical of the President, even without considering whether the points are valid or not.
That would be the definition of “diehard”—but it would hardly be the quality of a thriving, discerning, enlightened democracy.