President Duterte

MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday promised to join the future activities of President Rodrigo Duterte so as not to miss the key points the President might raise.

Roque made the promise as he admitted that he was unaware that Duterte’s July 13 speech in Jolo, Sulu was edited.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, he said joining Duterte’s future public and private engagements would be his “priority” from now on so he could personally listen to the President’s speeches.

“Next time, I will give priority to being with the President so I will personally hear what he has to say even if it means missing my press briefings,” Roque said.

In a speech delivered before soldiers in Jolo, Sulu on Monday, Duterte said he dismantled “oligarchy” sans declaring martial law in the country.

Roque, who was unable to join Duterte’s camp visit to Jolo, explained on Tuesday that Duterte’s latest pronouncement was not directed against ABS-CBN Corp.

However, a report published by The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) on Wednesday disclosed that Duterte’s speech in Jolo was edited to exclude his supposed rant against ABS-CBN.

The President, in a 40-minute audio recording of his entire speech obtained by PDI, was quoted as saying, “‘Yun namang ABS-CBN, binaboy ako. Pero sinabi ko, kapag ako nanalo, bubuwagin ko ang oligarchy ng Pilipinas. Ginawa ko without declaring martial law (ABS-CBN defiled me. But I said, if I win, I will dismantle oligarchy in the Philippines. I did it without declaring martial law).”

Roque declined to comment on the supposed editing of Duterte’s entire speech, saying that he was not privy to what Duterte exactly said.

“I’m not of any help on that issue because I was not physically present there,” he said. “I really cannot comment if there was any editing done.”

On Tuesday, Roque said there is no policy to edit Duterte’s speech delivered in any of the latter’s scheduled activities before it can be aired on television. (PNA)