Presidential spokesman Harry Roque disagreed with Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Benny Antiporda who had called experts from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP MSI) “bayaran” or paid hacks for criticizing the Manila Bay rehabilitation project.
Antiporda said Wednesday that UP experts have no right to criticize the government but apologized for his statement the following day.
In his Thursday presser, Roque countered Antiporda, saying UP is a partner of government.
“UP has a new charter. It is really a partner of government… Nasa batas po ‘yan na talagang partner natin ang UP bilang isang national university (It’s in the law that UP as a national university is the government’s partner),” he said.
“I will go to the extent of I disagree with the statement of Usec. Antiporda but he has already apologized for it,” he added.
Roque, who taught in UP for 15 years, said the academic institution has been doing its role in helping the government.
“Ginawa po namin ang katungkulan namin para tulungan ang gobyerno (We really did our duty of helping the government),” he said.
“In the field of law, we acted really as legal consultants to Congress because the Executive already has many legal offices,” he added.
In an interview with ANC, Antiporda apologized to UP “as a whole,” saying he had no intention of destroying the reputation of the university.
“I apologize because talagang natangay po ako ng emotions ko kahapon dahil medyo masakit po, hindi po ako pulitikong tao kaya ganun (I was swept by my emotions because their statement hurt. I’m not a politician that’s why I acted that way),” he told “Headstart.”