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Roque mulls resignation after President confirms hospital visit

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FILE PHOTO of Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. — PCOO

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON Harry L. Roque, Jr. said on Friday that he is considering resigning after he was “taken aback” by the confirmation of a hospital visit by President Rodrigo R. Duterte last Wednesday, which he said he did not know about.

Mr. Roque, in a press briefing Thursday afternoon, denied rumors that Mr. Duterte was hospitalized when he skipped an event at the Palace last Wednesday. He also said that those who wish Mr. Duterte ill should be ashamed of themselves.

But hours after Mr. Roque’s briefing, Mr. Duterte said in a public speech that he went to the Cardinal Santos Medical Center last Wednesday for a check-up.

“If it’s cancer, it’s cancer. And if it’s third stage, no more treatment. I will not prolong my agony in this office or anywhere,” the 73-year old President said.

On Friday, Mr. Roque said, “I need a weekend to think about my options. But as you can see, I cannot be effective as spokesperson unless I know everything about the President. Now, people think I lied. I’m telling the nation, I did not — I did not know.”

He stressed that he was not aware of the President’s diagnostic examination.

“Therefore, I’m inclined to believe that perhaps I am not in a position to continue with this current function,” he added.

The spokesman also said that Mr. Duterte has asked him to stay “and offered me a position, which currently does not exist yet. While there was no categorical agreement on what to do, I did say I will consider it and I wanted a weekend to think it over,” he added.

Mr. Roque said he will announce his plans on Monday. — Arjay L. Balinbin