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Roque rejects friend’s call for resignation: Wala akong dapat patunayan!

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Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has no intention of stepping down from his post despite earning the dismay of his former friends due to his sudden support for the Duterte administration.

Roque on Saturday (January 20) rejected University of the Philippines journalism professor Danny Arao’s call for him to quit or turn his back altogether on fighting for human rights.

“Naku wala po akong dapat patunayan pagdating doon sa aking paninindigan para po sa kalayaan ng malayang pamamahayag at pananalita… Napakadami na po naming pinaglaban na mga mamamahayag na nademanda ng libel. Napakadami na pong mga pinatay na mga mamamahayag na aming nilitis, ang mga pumatay sa kanila,” he said in a press conference in Kalibo, Aklan.

Roque, an abogado, said he is staying on as President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson because he believes in him.

“Kung sa tingin ko po talagang lumalabag sa karapatan ang Presidente. Hindi po ako mag-aatubili, magre-resign ako!” he said.

“Alam po niya ang halaga ng malayang pamamahayag, alam po niya ang halaga ng malayang pamamahayag, alam niya na pupulaan siya ng media,” Roque added.

Arao asked Roque to resign during the Black Friday protest for press freedom that journalists held in response to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision to revoke online multimedia site Rappler’s articles of incorporation.

The professor even wondered what happened to Roque considering they had fought together for press freedom when they were both teaching at UP.

Roque, however, maintained that the SEC decision on Rappler was not an attack on press freedom.

” Usaping fund raising po iyan na ang sabi ng SEC. Iyong fund raising ng Rappler eh nilabag ang Saligang Batas dahil ipinagbabawal ang mga dayuhan na magkaroon ng control sa mga mass media companies. Usaping pera po iyan, salapi, kuwarta,” he said.