Roque on 2019: Only God knows

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“The majority
of Filipinos feel safer nowadays.”

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque remained tight-lipped yesterday on whether he would seek an elective position in the 2019 mid-term elections.

At a media briefing in Indang, Cavite, the Palace spokesman kept the issue hanging. “We leave that to God because only God will tell us what will happen in our lives,” Roque said.

The Palace official’s standing in surveys of so-called preferred senatorial candidates, improved based on the latest Pulse Asia survey.

Previously ranked between 27th and 36th during the March survey of Pulse Asia, Roque moved up as he is now ranked between 25th and 33rd in the latest survey.

Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and now Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go and Roque are the leading administration personalities being seen as potential senatorial candidates next year.

But for Roque it’s too early to talk about politics as his job is to communicate government’s policies and programs for or on behalf of the President.

Speaking about disaster-ravaged Japan, Roque said the Philippine government will provide aid to its neighboring country.

Roque said President Duterte has offered to send a team of soldiers, engineers and doctors to provide assistance to affected Japanese residents and survivors.

“(We) will also send medicines to Japan,” Roque said quoting the President.

The Palace official relayed the President’s thoughts while the Cabinet meeting was still ongoing late Monday night.

“There’s no amount mentioned but it will be (Foreign Affairs) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano who will relay the message to the ambassador of Japan,” Roque said.

And despite the numerous charges of alleged rights abuses and extrajudicial killings and spate of killings of local executives, Roque said majority of Filipinos feel safer nowadays.

Asked to give a rating on the Duterte administrations war on drugs campaign, with 10 as the highest, the Palace official gave an 8.5 rating.

Roque came to the defense of the administration saying that the government has accomplished so much no matter what critics would say.

“Even the surveys will indicate that majority of our people, 80 plus of our people feel safer, they feel more secure in their homes dahil nga po dito sa drive against criminality and the war against drugs. (It’s) 86% based on the data on the survey that I saw,” he said.

When Daily Tribune asked Roque what polling agency he was referring to, he said the data came from a privately commissioned survey.

Based on the facts and figures collated by the government in carrying out the war on drugs campaign, billions of pesos worth of illegal drugs have been confiscated, seized and destroyed by the authorities since the campaign against drug trafficking was launched following the assumption into office of President Duterte.