Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque owes CNN Philippines and its reporter Triciah Terada an apology for his boorish and, as it turned out, misbegotten tirade.
Roque took exception to a CNN tweet on Monday, May 18, that said he admitted that the government has no mass testing program and would leave this to private businesses.
He singled out Terada and said only she quoted him “out of context.”
The thing is, CNN has said the story Roque objected to was not written by Terada.
Multiple news organizations also carried stories quoting him as saying the exact same thing he accused Terada of getting wrong.
The transcript of Roque’s Monday briefing had him responding to the request of GMA’s Joseph Morong to confirm that government had no mass testing program.
“SEC. ROQUE: Well, as much as possible po ano, mayroon tayong—ini-increase natin iyong capacity natin ng testing kaya nga we’re aiming na aabot tayo sa 30,000. Pero in terms of mass testing na ginagawa ng Wuhan na all 11 million, wala pa pong ganiyang programa at iniiwan natin sa pribadong sektor. You can ask your question from Dra. Minguita, she’s here I think ‘no. Anong question mo?”
In fact, Roque didn’t even need to answer the question since there was an expert eminently more qualified to do so.
Ironically, even as he berated Terada, Roque said: “Hindi po mass testing ang ginagawa natin, it is expanded targeted testing.” In effect, he unwittingly proved her right.
Officials who earn public ire for their pronouncements should not blame journalists who are merely doing their jobs.