By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said the claims that he was quarantined at a luxury hotel is “fake news.”

Roque, who tested positive for COVID-19, said he was at a hotel in San Juan being used as a quarantine facility.

When asked during an online Palace briefing to address the rumors he was staying at a presidential suite of a hotel in Pasay, Roque said: "That is fake news."

"Iyong tsinitsimis po na nandoon ako sa Pasay, I do not even know if we have the means to pay for that hotel.”

"Masyadong grabe po 'yan, 7-star hotel po 'yan. Ang alam ko po, 2- to 3- star hotels lang po ang kinukuha natin, including motels. Hindi naman po ako nasa motel,” Roque added.

According to Roque, the government tapped some hotels to serve as isolation centers for asymptomatic coronavirus patients. These establishments are different from the hotels being used for housing returning Filipino workers.

Roque earlier said he was asymptomatic. He said he was consulting his doctor if it would be better to go home because he has noticed that other people staying at his hotel seemed to have symptoms.

He said he has helped several people get accommodations at the hotel where he was staying, including a director from his office, a broadcaster on the government television network, and an undersecretary of a line department. 

"The rooms are fast being occupied, and I understand we're also in full capacity," Roque said.

He also said he did not have any close interaction with President Rodrigo Duterte during events they attended last week.

Roque is the fifth Cabinet member to catch COVID-19, after Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.