MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will tap Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo as press secretary, a position previously offered to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Jr.
Duterte disclosed this in a news conference in Malacañang Tuesday night.
When the Office of the Press Secretary is revived, the Presidential Communications Operations Office gets dissolved. The press secretary will serve as the President’s spokesperson.
PCOO secretary Martin Andanar will still have a job at the OPS – he will be tapped as “consultant” because, Duterte said, there are “so many things they have to reconfigure in PTV 4,” the government-run television station.
This leaves Roque without a position in the Cabinet.
“Kaya naipit nga si Roque,” said Duterte. “It’s not my fault actually. Sabi niya tatakbo siya (then) hindi siya tatakbo (then) tatakbo (uli). Kaya namili na kaagad ako (ng kapalit). Para walang paralysis sa flow ng functions.”
Duterte added that he got irked when Roque threatened to resign after being kept in the dark about the President’s checkup at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center last week.
“Hindi ko man maintindihan (si Roque). So, I’m giving that margin of safety. Kasi sabi niya mag-resign siya because he didn’t know that I was in the hospital,” the President said.
“Hindi naman kailangan sabihin ko lahat e. There are things which are limited to the immediate members of the family,” Duterte added. “And sabi niya, mag-resign siya. Sabi ko ’di sige.”
Earlier Roque hinted at considering stepping down after Duterte discouraged him from running for senator and he was not informed about some of the President’s affairs.
Roque announced on Monday that he will take a leave of absence for an overseas trip and for the possible filing of his certificate of candidacy. He showed up at the Palace on Tuesday and went on with his leave on Wednesday.
The filing of the certificates of candidacy for the 2019 midterm elections starts Thursday, Sept. 11./PN