Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque sat down with actress Aiko Melendez for an interview no one thought a top government official would grace at a time like this. But true to his limelight-seeker needing attention image, he decided to clear his schedule and make time for Melendez whom he apparently considers his longtime “crush.” Now, how can he resist turning down such a once in a lifetime “opportunity” of meeting his lifelong crush, right? Pun intended.
Although Melendez delved into Roque’s work as a high-ranking government official, the interview mostly talked about the latter’s personal issues with highly-respected women like Vice President Robredo and broadcast journalist Pinky Webb. Of course, Melendez also brought to the table Roque’s issue with comedian Vice Ganda.
A lawyer by profession, Roque — apparently Pulse Asia’s most approved cabinet member — reiterated that Vice Ganda never should’ve compared vaccine with laundry detergent. It can be recalled that the latter dissed Roque in a tweet following a statement about the government’s plans once the free vaccination program becomes available.
“Well, ako naman, ang konteksto na sinagot ko kasi ang sabi niya eh ‘yung sa sabong labada nakakabili, bakit bakuna hindi? So, sinabi ko na ang katotohanan na unang-una, huwag na huwag mong ikukumpara ang bakuna laban sa COVID-19 sa sabong panlaba,” Roque said.
He went on: “Kasi unang-una, ngayon lang na-develop ‘yan. Number two, konti ‘yan. At pangatlo, kapag sinabi ng mga eksperto sa FDA na ligtas at epektibo ‘yan, tanggapin ‘yan. Kasi sabi ko pwede kang magsalita, you have the freedom of speech. Pero pagdating du’n sa bakuna at the time na pandemya at natatakot ang mga tao sa pandemya, pakinggan naman natin ang mga eksperto.”
The popular comedian’s tweet, at the time, came just days after Roque said in a press briefing that the public should simply accept whatever kind of vaccine the government provides to the public.
In response, Vice wrote in his tweet: “Sa sabong panlaba nga choosy tayo e sa bakuna pa kaya. Ano ‘to basata may maisaksak lang?! Vaklang twoooaahhh!”
But Roque did not take the Vice Ganda’s comment lightly, mocking the latter’s credibility for being a comedian.
In an “It’s Showtime” episode, Vice Ganda threw a diss at Roque, saying: “Pero ako, hindi ako clown,” Vice Ganda said. “I’m a comedian. At may kilala akong clown.”
Roque, in his interview with Melendez, said he finds it an honor for Vice Ganda to compare him to a “clown” as these are people “wanting you to smile amidst the tragedies.”
“So to me, thank you very much because I’m compared to clowns because as I said, Marcel Marceau [and] Charlie Chaplin are people who I really respect and look up to,” he said.
HARRY ROQUE ON PINKY WEBB
Roque was also asked about his reaction to Pinky Webb giving him a hair flip during an interview with the veteran broadcast journalist.
“Well, mabuti may buhok siya. Siguro kung may buhok ako mag gaganun din ako,” he said.
In case you missed it, Roque recently lost his temper on live television after Webb asked him if he was willing to denounce the government’s decision to terminate the 1989 agreement between the University of the Philippines and the Department of National Defense. Webb cited a tweet from UP Journalism professor Danilo Arao.
Asked if he deliberately does what he does to trend online, Roque chose to explain why he did what he did instead.
He said: “Ang tanong naman sa akin ni Pinky Webb, sinagot ko and then I thought about it and said this is a really unfair question. Just because someone tweeted na he assumed he is God’s appointed guardian of excellence and honor, eh I have to respond to him. So and tanong ko, sino siya? Kilala ko nga siya tapos sabi ko I’m a more senior academic than him when I was still in UP. So, bakit ako sasagot sa kanya?”
“Bakit ko gagawin ang gusto niyang i-denounce? In the first place, kumbaga in legal parlance, no basis for me to do as he says. He must be qualified na talagang he is in fact a guardian of excellence as far as UP grads are concerned and he isn’t. So, I thought it was unfair question. But of course, alam naman ni Pinky sabi niya it’s not unfair, she just wanted my reaction,” he added.
Defending his gesture towards Webb, he continued: “Pero I think nung ni-review ko talaga ‘yung footage, totoo naman na talagang she wanted me to denounce. The implication was if I don’t denounce according to that guy, then I lack excellence and honor which I thought was unfair,” he stated.
If there’s one thing Roque has proven during his interview with the actress, it’s that both of them probably belong to the same boat: entertainment.