Roque slams Jason Aquino after Duterte's lower ratings
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque slammed former National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Jason Aquino on Tuesday, September 25, after President Rodrigo Duterte got his lowest trust and approval ratings, based on a Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated survey.
The former NFA chief is blamed for the increase in rice prices after he declared a shortage of NFA rice and failed to purchase enough palay (rice grains) from local farmers to stave off the need to import. (READ: Who is NFA chief Aquino and whyis he controversial?)
Roque brought up his anger at Aquino after he was sought for reaction to the latest Pulse Asia survey, where Duterte's approval and trust ratings suffered double-digit erosions, bringing them to their lowest level since he assumed the presidency in 2016.
The immediate reaction of Roque was: "I believe that's still a very good approval rating – certainly higher than mine. But anyway – certainly still the highest of all the officials surveyed by Pulse Asia."
Roque then segued to Aquino.
"Why do I say these things about Aquino? Kasi parang 'yung single issue ng bigas, nakalimutan na ng tao 'yung mga iba pang achievements ng administrasyon dahil malapit nga ito sa sikmura (Because of the single issue of rice, people already forgot all the other achievements of the administration because this is close to the gut),” Roque said.
Roque said the country could not avoid the rising prices of oil, but could have prevented the jacking up of rice prices. He said this is why he was "personally angry" about the issue.
"I myself think that it’s not fair for a single agency of government to create this kind of a problem," he said.
Pulse Asia said calls for Aquino's resignation, the soaring prices of rice, the country's record-high inflation, and Duterte's order to void the amnesty of opposition Senator Antonio Trilllanes IV, were among the issues that dominated the headlines during the Pulse Asia survey held in the first week of September, and prior to the Saturday period. – Rappler.com