Harry Roque

Willie Revillame hijacks Roque press briefing to promote charity, GMA7 show

Pia Ranada
Willie Revillame hijacks Roque press briefing to promote charity, GMA7 show
Revillame vows to give jeepney drivers P5 million and plugs in his show 'Wowowin' during a government press briefing

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque’s virtual press briefing on Friday, August 7, unexpectedly took on talk show vibes after television host Willie Revillame seemed to barged into it to talk about his charity efforts and even plug his GMA7 show.

Just as reporters covering the press conference thought Roque was wrapping up by thanking Revillame for the use of space in his building Wil Tower, Revillame himself suddenly walked into the frame carrying a chair, which he then placed beside Roque.

From his new position, he began asking his own questions to Roque and his guest Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla.

Magandang hapon po, Pilipinas. Magandang hapon ho. First time ko na lumabas ng channel sa GMA. Pasensiya na ho kayo, PTV-4 naman ito at paglilingkod naman ito sa ating mga kababayan. Magandang hapon, hindi ako pulitiko pero nandito ho ako para, una, magtanong bilang isang mamamayang Pilipino,” said Revillame.

(Good afternoon, Philippines. It’s my first time to step out of GMA channel. Excuse me but this is PTV-4 and this is in service to our countrymen. Good afternoon, I’m not a politician but I’m here to ask questions as a Filipino.)

Revillame then asked Remulla about his policy on temporarily closing malls which violated quarantine rules and Roque about the loss of livelihood of jeepney drivers, among others.

The GMA7 host then promised to give P5 million to jeepney drivers who have resorted to begging in the streets. He even whipped out his checkbook to show he was serious.

Mayroon akong tseke dito ‘no para alam ng tao, hinanda ko ‘to – P5 million para sa mga jeepney drivers. Ngayon ito ho pangako ko, hindi ho ito pagbubuhat ng bangko dahil sobra hong pinagpala ako dahil I think, sa industriya, ako lang naman iyong may trabaho ngayon na live,” he said.

(I have a check here, just so people know I prepared this – P5 million for our jeepney drivers. This is my promise, I’m not tooting my own horn but because I am so blessed because I think I’m the only one in the industry with a job that is still live.)

The claim may not be farfetched as GMA7’s biggest competitor for viewership, ABS-CBN, had gone off-air last May or 3 months ago, leading to lay-offs and salary deductions. The rejection of a new franchise for the leading television network came after Duterte’s repeated threats to block their franchise renewal.

Revillame even promised more generosity, saying he may donate another P5 million next month and possibly every month after that.

But he wasn’t done. Revillame went on to promise P100,000 for the families of the Filipinos who were killed in the Beirut explosions last Tuesday, August 4.

Nagdudugo ang puso ko sa ating mga kababayan. I’m so blessed, napakabait ng Panginoong Diyos sa akin, ako po ay may programa na nagbibigay din ng tulong,” he said.

(My heart bleeds for our countrymen. I’m so blessed, God is so good to me, I have a program that gives assistance.)

Roque assured the audience that Revillame’s checks would go to their intended beneficiaries.

Banter in a formal press briefing

Roque tried to wrap up the press conference but was again interrupted by Revillame, who could not help one last jab at his companions, particularly Remulla, who was sitting at the other side of the table.

“Governor, hindi ka ba natatamaan? Nagbibigay ako ng tseke?” said Revillame. (Governor, aren’t you affected? I am giving out checks?)

When Remulla said he earns only P150,000 a month and thus could not afford to be as generous, Revillame said, “Naku, bibigyan na rin kita ng tseke.” (I’ll have to give you a check too.)

Meanwhile, Roque tried to have the last say, teasing Remulla that he’s not as strapped for cash as he makes himself appear.

Hindi po, maraming pera iyan. May binentang lupa iyan. Alam ko po kung saan iyong binenta niyang lupa,” said Duterte’s spokesman. (No, he has lots of money. He sold land. I know where that land he sold is.)

Before the press briefing was over, Revillame managed to promote a segment of his GMA7 show, Tutok to Win sa Wowowin.

Mamaya po Channel 7 po, 5 to 6:30 tutok na kayo dahil P100,000 ang bibigay ko sa Shopee Shake,” said the TV host.

(Later on Channel 7, 5 to 6:30, watch it because I’ll give away P100,000 on Shopee Shake.)

Roque’s press briefings carry the seal of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson which is under the Office of the President.

The Office of the President represents the Philippine government and all programs and initiatives done in its name are paid for and done in the name of Filipinos.

Roque, however, has been quick to show his gratitude to Revillame as the celebrity had allowed the spokesman to use rooms in Wil Tower for his press briefings during the pandemic.

The usual venue of Roque’s press briefings, the New Executive Building, remains closed for disinfection after staff there tested positive for COVID-19. – 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.