MANILA, Philippines – The doctor who was berated by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he should resign from his post following his ‘emotional’ outburst against health experts who suggested the implementation of a two-week hard lockdown amid the increase in COVID-19 cases.
A leaked video of a recent Inter-Agency Task Force meeting showed Roque raising his voice and lashing out at Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, and Dr. Antonio Dans, convenor of the Healthcare Professionals Alliance against COVID-19.
Limpin was also seen in a video emotionally pleading to the government not to ease quarantine restrictions to contain the uptick in infections.
Limpin said she was surprised at Roque’s reaction when they were presenting during the meeting their suggestions and the dire situations in hospitals.
“Personally, and I hope that he does not or will not say that I’m being political when I say this because definitely, I have no politics… I can only speak my mind out. As far as I’m concerned, the president should actually remove him from office. Palitan na niya. Because he is not doing service to our president,” she said.
She also said Roque’s behavior does not befit an official who represents the president of the country.
“It is not an action that is expected from a government official. Secretary Roque has to realize that as a spokesperson of the President, then he is basically representing the President. Therefore, any actions he makes, it is reflective of the President,” she said.
Roque has apologized for his outburst, adding that he became emotional as he spoke on behalf of Filipinos who have been suffering from hunger and poverty due to hard lockdowns.
He also stressed that he was only emphasizing the need to find a balance between health and the country’s economy.
“But as I said, I may apologize and I have in fact apologized for the manner, but never for the message,” Roque said. “I stand by the message.”
But Limpin said that instead of just apologizing to her and Dr. Dans, Roque should apologize to all healthcare workers for his outburst.
“We were there as representatives of the healthcare workforce. And therefore if he has to apologize, he has to apologize to the whole of the healthcare workforce, hindi sa amin lang. Yung ginawa niya is against all of us in the healthcare sector,” Limpin said.