MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque refused to give a Malacañang response to the posting by Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson of a graphic misquoting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Roque, saying he has "no jurisdiction over the matter," would rather the issue be addressed by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.
"I am a completely separate department. And I trust that PCOO will address this matter if at all," said Roque on Thursday, November 16, during a Malacañang press briefing.
Andanar has not yet responded to Rappler's request for comment.
Asked if he would speak to Uson about the issue, since he had previously volunteered to discuss with her the value of critical journalism, Roque said: "I think it is better left to the PCOO to address. I will not take on [an] additional job than is necessary for my office."
On Wednesday, November 15, Uson shared a graphic by pro-Duterte blogger RJ Nieto claiming Trudeau had said in a press conference that it is "theoretically impossible" for Canada to get back garbage smuggled into the Philippines.
But as official transcripts, videos of Trudeau's speech, and several news reports show, Trudeau actually said it is "theoretically possible" for Canada to get back the trash.
In the past few weeks, Roque's first as Duterte's spokesman, he has had to deal with intense criticism from the President's rabid online supporters for defending journalists' right to fairly criticize government.
Uson, in a video posted on her Facebook account after Roque's defense of media, warned the senior government official, "Don't play with fire." – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.