Malacañang spokesperson Harry Roque—who makes his own news far too often these days—seems to have stepped in it again when he said on Wednesday, 21 July, that Vice President Leni Robredo had chosen to leave her Cabinet post as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council in order to “become the leader of the opposition”, making her nothing more than an “ornament for five years.”
“Kung maalala niyo po, binigyan ng Cabinet post ng Presidente si VP Leni Robredo pero siya po ang namili na nais niyang maging lider ng oposisyon kaya naging palamuti po siya ng limang taon.” Roque said in an interview with GMA-7’s Unang Hirit. (“If you remember, VP Leni Robredo was given a Cabinet post by the president, but she was the one who chose to want to become the leader of the opposition, and that’s why she became an ornament for five years.”)
Answering spokesperson to spokesperson, the VP’s own Atty Barry Gutierrez answered the presidential spox with receipts:
Ayoko na sanang patulan pero sobrang sinungaling eh. “Pinili” daw ni VP Leni na umalis sa Gabinete para maging lider ng oposisyon. Hay naku, magsisinungaling na lang andali pang hulihin. Resibo: pic.twitter.com/HlqGxnhvDw
— Barry Gutierrez (@barrygutierrez3) July 21, 2021
Saying, “Ayoko na sanang patulan, pero sobrang sinungaling eh” (“I didn’t want to answer, but [he’s] such a liar”), Gutierrez posted a photo of a 2016 text message from Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr that read: “Gd afternoon Madam Vice President. Mayor [sic] Rody Duterte thru Bong Go asked me to relay to you his instruction for you to desist from attending all Cabinet mtngs starting This Monday Dec 5, 2pm. Ty.”
Social media appreciated this receipt, and came up with other proof of the well-publicized rift between the country’s two top executives—including a memo from VP Robredo recapping the events as she tendered her resignation from the post, links to news articles about the incident, and even a DZMM TeleRadyo clip of Sec Leoncio confirming that the order had come from the president.
same indicated sa resignation letter ni VP. desist from attending cabinet meetings pic.twitter.com/mFL7a3EcBu
— Gerald (@richmepooryou) July 21, 2021
So here are the lessons from today’s spokesman vs spokesman battle royale: First of all, keep receipts. Second, if you’re going to lie, perhaps make sure it’s not a lie that’s so easily exposed on the first page of Google results?