VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Palace spox Roque says these Duterte quips should not be taken seriously

A Presidential spokesperson is supposed to speak on behalf of his principal. When President Rodrigo Duterte announced the appointment of Harry Roque as his spokesperson October last year, he said the former Kabayan representative "will carry my word to the public.”

In recent weeks, Roque has found himself having to explain yet again controversial pronouncements by Duterte.

During a series of briefings in the wake of super typhoon Ompong, Duterte blamed a priest for the collapse of a church in Benguet that killed more than 60 people. At another meeting, in Laoag City, the president suggested pushing Commission on Audit officers down the stairs, saying he doesn’t care about the state auditors' circulars.

Just three weeks ago, Duterte had come under fire for yet another rape remark in his speech in Cebu marking Mandaue City’s 49th charter day celebration.

Roque reiterated that these quips were jokes and not meant to be taken seriously. Watch this video.

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

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