In response to critics calling for him to step down, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said on Monday that only his boss, President Rodrigo Duterte, could fire him.

Roque recently drew flak for an outburst against doctors during a meeting attended by the country’s pandemic policymakers, where he castigated doctors, specifically Dr. Maricar Limpin, for opposing the government’s decision to ease quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila.

Limpin has since called for Roque’s resignation and urged Duterte to fire his spokesman.

“Doon naman sa mga sinasabi ni Dr. Limpin, well, na kay presidente po iyan. Unfortunately, only the president can fire me and only the president can fire [Health Secretary Francisco Duque III],” Roque said in a Palace briefing.

As his outburst trended across social media platforms, Roque earlier said government meetings were supposed to be secret.

He added that those responsible for leaking the video were possibly “liable for revealing public secrets.”

“Pero hahayaan ko na po iyan sa IATF, at iyan naman po ay napag-usapan kanina sa IATF,” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro