If Roque shows reservations, these are nothing more than an attempt to be seen as redeeming some part of his conscience and not having wholly sold out. He makes a big thing, for instance, of a resolute opposition to the death penalty and the lowering of the age of criminal liability.
Well, no one should be fooled. It is a perfectly timed and perfectly safe reassertion of an old conviction. Duterte has in fact abandoned both advocacies, though surely only for the time being, because his proposed laws providing for them face certain defeat in the Senate.
Roque, to be sure, has a problem common to many turncoats: he is disliked on both sides. In fact, party-list colleagues had felt betrayed much earlier – for aligning himself with Duterte's House majority – and had begun denouncing him publicly. Now a full-fledged Duterte enforcer, he can expect further alienation.
But neither is Roque fully accepted in the Duterte camp. One particularly bellicose Duterte blogger has called for his resignation. The blogger, apparently not sophisticated-minded enough to grasp Roque’s tricks, took his attitude toward the media as conciliatory; actually, it’s patronizing.
Resignation is definitely out of the question for Roque, he says so himself, and I can think of no stronger motive that may have driven him to such a desperate deal than ambition. He has made little effort to conceal his covetousness of high public office even before he became a party-list member of the House. He eyed other Cabinet appointments before.
He told me he had passed up an offer for the United Nations ambassadorship, giving the impression he did not intend to get that close – which I took to mean officially or, at any rate, unmistakably, close – to the Duterte regime. Apparently now, the offer simply did not fit into his political plans; it would not raise his national profile enough to make him a contender for a Senate seat in the midterm polls.
Who was it who said ambition is “a proud covetousness...a dry thirst of honor, a great torture of mind...a gallant madness...a pleasant poison"? – Rappler.com