By Rommel F. Lopez
Was Harry Roque scuba diving in Boracay over the weekend?
Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday he is in isolation after one his staff tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)
Roque also said he tested negative for disease.
The Malacañang official did not say when his staff tested positive for the disease and when he got tested and started isolating himself.
However, netizens were quick to point out that Roque was in Boracay scuba diving over the weekend.
DiveGurus Boracay, which describes itself as ‘Boracay’s premier boutique dive shop’, posted photos and videos of the presidential spokesperson’s scuba diving.
The dive company posted a statement on their Facebook page saying Roque was alone when he came to them on Feb 6.
“None of Sec. Roque’s other staff membes (sic) were present during his dive. Following safety protocols, our equipment is dipped in disinfectant solution after every dive and each staff adheres to the COVID safety guidelines,” it said.
PressONE.ph requested for an interview with DiveGurus Boracay but our messages went unanswered.
Boracay Island News Network posted on its Facebook page on Saturday that “Roque was spotted today in Boracay Island.”
“It was not clear if his visit is for work or leisure,” it said.
Netizens, some of whom are Boracay residents, were quick to blast Roque and disputed his claim that he was in isolation.
Anong nasa isolation ka @attyharryroque ? Eh nandito ka sa Boracay nung weekend. 🙄
Sinungaling ka. pic.twitter.com/PR4IUMg7MX
— Deo Mariano Enalpe 🇵🇭 (@deoenalpe_phl) February 8, 2021
ISOLATION? DUDE. HE WAS JUST DIVING HERE IN BORACAY YESTERDAY & WALKING BY THE BEACH.
I mean, do we still expect for Harry Roque to speak the truth about anything? pic.twitter.com/ijwhLakgj6
— Meryl Hilda 🌴 #KeepGoing; (@TitaMeryl) February 8, 2021
Back in September 2020, Roque who also serves as spokesman of the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force against Covid-19, went into self-isolation after his security aide tested positive for the deadly disease.
He also got himself tested for the virus and the results came out negative.
In July, when most of the country is still under a hard lockdown, Roque posted photos of himself enjoying the company of dolphins in a resort in Subic, Bataan.
Roque defended his trip to the Ocean Adventure Park in Subic, Bataan saying it was not for leisure but a “sidetrip” of an authorized trip to check on his family’s swine business and to distribute personal protective equipment to a nearby hospital.
“Hindi po siya leisure kasi first trip ko doon, as APOR [authorized person out of residence],” he said in response to questions during a virtual briefing on Thursday, July 2.
An APOR is a person allowed to leave home for essential errands or for work.
He further rationalized that he hails from Bataan, and that it was the province’s first day under the much-relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) where leisure establishments like theme parks and resorts are allowed to resume partial operations.
However, Roque is a resident of Quezon City in Metro Manila which is still under the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) where residents are told by government to stay at home and go out only for essential purposes.
Ocean Adventure posted on their Facebook page photos of Roque in a rash guard and swimming cap, posing beside dolphins on a beach and talking to resort staff.
He later apologized if his visit to the park “offended” people.
“For those I offended I’m sorry, tao lang po,” he said.
(This article was updated to reflect the statement of the dive company in Boracay hired by Sec. Roque – Ed.)