Roque threatens to throw ‘hollow blocks’ at Duterte critics

Pia Ranada
Roque threatens to throw ‘hollow blocks’ at Duterte critics
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also tells those criticizing him: 'Mamatay kayo sa inggit'

MANILA, Philippines – Only two days after being named presidential spokesman, Kabayan Representative Harry Roque issued a warning to those who do nothing but criticize President Rodrigo Duterte.

He said he would throw, not stones, but adobe hollow blocks at them.

Roque made this threat in an interview with Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson on Sunday night, October 29, before their flight to Japan with the President. 

“Binibigyan ko na po ng notice ‘yung mga walang hiya diyan na naninira lamang. Kung dati-rati hindi kayo nababato bagamat kayo’y nambabato, ngayon po maghanda na kayo dahil kung kayo’y nambato, hindi lang po bato itatapon ko sa inyo, hollow blocks,” he said with gusto.

(I am giving you notice, those who just badmouth [the President]. If before you weren’t taking any hits when you were doing the hitting, now prepare yourselves because if you throw insults, I won’t be throwing just rocks, but hollow blocks.)

He advised such critics to stop bringing down the administration and just help the country. (READ: Things to know about Harry Roque, Duterte’s new spokesman)

A delighted Uson responded, “Ay grabe, wala pang New Year, fireworks na!” (There are already fireworks even before the New Year!)

However, Roque’s insinuation that Duterte critics are not attacked for their statements against the President is inaccurate.

Duterte himself often uses the public podium to insult or threaten his critics – from European Union officials to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to members of the media.

Some of his most rabid online supporters, including Uson herself, use their influence to villify Duterte’s critics. (READ: State-sponsored hate: The rise of the pro-Duterte bloggers)

‘Die of envy’

Roque also had a message for people who have negative remarks about him.

“Mamatay kayo sa inggit. Tapos na mga panahon ‘nyo. Laos na kayo, kaya puwede ba, move on na kayo,” he said.

(Die of envy. Your time is over. You’re no longer in, so just move on.)

But his tone changed when Uson asked him what he thought of mainstream media.

Roque, who has represented many reporters as a human rights lawyer, including slain environmental advocate and journalist Gerry Ortega, responded with more self-restraint.

He said, in all his years of dealing with the press, he has “not had a bad experience.” (READ: Rights groups to Roque: Reconsider offer to be Duterte spokesman)

Roque added that he has no issues with journalists who tell the truth.

“I trust that we can help each other as long as they report the truth, and let us allow the market of free ideas to grow. For me, as long as you are responsible, we don’t have a problem with that,” said Roque.

He is expected to take his oath as Duterte’s spokesman in early November. (READ: ‘Spokesperson Roque’ hopes to advise Duterte on human rights issues) – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.