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Roque glad to be ‘Meme King’ providing comedic relief amid COVID-19 pandemic

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has embraced his role as Meme King, saying such memes featuring him provide much needed comedic relief to the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview with GMA News’ The Mangahas Interviews, Roque responded to a query if he takes offense on viral memes of him swimming with the dolphins and on a diving trip even if government officials have been consistently reminding the public to stay home to avoid COVID-19 transmission.

“Hindi po [nakaka-offend] eh. Kasi akala ng aking mga katunggali, nakakasama sa akin iyong memes. By my reckoning, sumikat ako sa mga memes, I became Meme King,” Roque said.

“Sa panahon ng pandemya, hindi naman puwede na purong masamang balita. People appreciate…memes really became the source for entertainment for many. I am happy to be of assistance, kahit ganun,” he added.

Roque even beamed that his Facebook followers grew to almost a million at 980,000 because of the memes.

“Bago nagkaroon ng memes, 200,000 lang po iyan. Dahil sa memes at hugot lines, almost a million na po ‘yan,” Roque said. “Akala nila nakakapikon, but many of them found them (memes) cute. ’Yung meme ko with dolphins, kala nila negative, pero ang resulta, positibo naman.” 

2022 polls

In the same interview, Roque said is open to running for public office in the 2022 polls.

“Parang nakukulangan ako sa quality ng legislation na ginagawa ngayon ng Kongreso, so that is also an option,” he said, but quickly added that nothing is cast in stone so far.

“Napakahirap po ilagay ang puso mo sa isang bagay na hindi mo alam kung ibibgay sa iyo ng Panginoon,” he said.

Roque said he will decide before the filing of candidacy scheduled during the first week of October. “Right now, I am focused on being the best spokesperson I can be at the time of the pandemic.” 

Roque has drawn flak for at least two instances amid the COVID-19 pandemic that left at 4.5 million people unemployed so far: for saying that Filipinos cannot be choosy over the COVID-19 vaccine brand that they are going to get and that Filipinos have been in vacation for so long due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was elected to the House of Representatives as member of the Kabayan party-list in 2016, but later resigned in late 2017 to become President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson. 

Roque was supposed to run for the Senate in the 2019 polls and even filed his candidacy, but he later withdrew from the race, citing health reasons.

Roque said he had a heart attack, and took time to recover from depression brought about by not being able to pursue his electoral bid.

“Last elections, nagplano po ako tumakbo, and I was very disappointed kasi nagka-heart attack ako and I could not run. It took me a long time to recover from the depression,” he said.

“But that experience strengthened my faith, and I continue to pray to God for guidance,” he added. — RSJ, GMA News