MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday said the person who leaked the video showing his outburst against a group of doctors during a meeting may be held liable for violating the Data Privacy Act.
In a Palace press briefing, Roque said he is leaving it up to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to file charges against the person.
“Sa tingin ko po liable. Liable din po for revealing public secrets pero hahayaan ko na po ‘yan sa IATF. At ‘yan naman po ay napag-usapan kanina sa IATF (I think that person is liable. He or she is also liable for revealing public secrets but I am leaving that to the IATF. That was already discussed by the IATF earlier),” he said.
He also brushed aside calls for President Rodrigo Duterte to fire him along with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who was criticized over controversies in the government’s Covid-19 response.
“Unfortunately, only the President can fire me and only the President can fire Secretary Duque,” he said.
In the leaked video dated Sept. 7, Roque scolded medical professionals who opposed the downgrade of quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila because hospitals were overwhelmed with Covid-19 surges.
He later admitted that he became emotional when Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians and Dr. Antonio Dans, convenor of the Health Care Professionals Alliance Against Covid-19, appealed for the continued hard lockdown in Metro Manila.
“Unang-una po, kinukimpirma ko po na tayo po’y naging emosyonal at pasensiya naman po kayo at tao lamang (First and foremost, I confirm that I became emotional. And I apologize. I’m just a human),” Roque said in a press briefing on Sept. 10.
He, however, said he did not curse at or berated them during the meeting.
“Hindi po ako nagmura. Naging emosyonal po ako (I did not curse. I was just emotional). Now, apology? ‘Yung mga na-offend ko sa manner, I apologize kung na-offend ko kayo sa manner (I apologize to those who got offended by my manner of speaking),” he said.
Several healthcare professionals lashed back at Roque for losing his temper, saying that he had “gone overboard”. (PNA)