VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Roque makes false claim to justify swimming with dolphins

In justifying his recent “side trip” to the Ocean Adventure park in Subic, Zambales, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque claimed he did not violate any health and quarantine regulations.

This is false. Watch this video:



Under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) — a transition phase to “new normal” conditions — swimming and other “non-contact sports” are allowed as long as minimum public health standards, such as wearing of masks and maintaining the prescribed physical distance of at least one meter, are practiced.

Roque, who also serves as the spokesperson of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, is not the first public official criticized for alleged breach of health and quarantine protocols.

In early June, San Juan City Mayor Francisco Zamora drew flak after his convoy avoided health inspection at a checkpoint in Baguio City. (See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: No such thing as ‘cancer-free,’ oncologist says)

National Capital Region Police Chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas is facing criminal charges for allegedly disregarding health regulations when he celebrated his birthday with a “mananita,” or early morning serenade, in May.

Prior to this, in March, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III received calls for resignation after he accompanied his then pregnant wife to a hospital while he was on self-quarantine for showing symptoms of COVID-19. The next day the senator announced he tested positive for the disease. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Pacquiao is wrong; PH has been dealing with ‘coronavirus issue’ since January)



Presidential Communications Operations Office, Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, July 2, 2020 official Facebook page, “LOOK: Palace spokesman Harry Roque visits Ocean Adventure as they begin to gradually reopen amid the general community quarantine,” July 1, 2020

Rappler, ‘Not leisure,’ says Roque about swim with dolphins at Ocean Adventure, July 2, 2020

Politiko, Bakasyon muna: Roque swims with dolphins in Ocean Adventure, July 3, 2020

Department of Health, COVID-19 FAQs, Accessed July 6, 2020

Presidential Communications Operations Office, Public Briefing #LagingHandaPH hosted by PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar and Usec. Rocky Ignacio with Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque; Pasig City Representative and Chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, Congressman Roman Romulo; Department of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, July 3, 2020


Benjamin Magalong official Facebook page, Public statement, June 7, 2020

CNN Philippines, Criminal charges to be filed vs. NCRPO chief Sinas, other police officials over birthday feast – Palace, May 14, 2020, BREAKING: Sinas, other police officials in mañanita to face criminal case – Palace, May 14, 2020

Rappler, PNP files criminal, admin raps vs Sinas, 18 cops over birthday party, May 15, 2020, Senator under fire for quarantine breach, March 26, 2020

CNN Philippines, #KokoResign trends after Pimentel admits quarantine breach, March 26, 2020

Rappler, #KokoResign, #KokoKulong: Netizens rage vs Pimentel for breaking quarantine protocols, March 26, 2020

ABS-CBN News, Senator Pimentel tests positive for COVID-19, March 25, 2020

CNN Philippines, Senator Pimentel tests positive for COVID-19, March 25, 2020, Pimentel becomes second senator to test positive for COVID-19, March 25, 2020


(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.)