Palace reorg leaves Abella, Andanar with new tasks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2017 02:28 PM | Updated as of Mar 02 2017 02:52 PM

Palace reorg leaves Abella, Andanar with new tasks 1
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar and Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. Composite

MANILA - (UPDATED) The communications office of Malacañang is implementing a reorganization that delineated new assignments for Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar and Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. 

Under the the reorganization, all official statements of President Duterte will be coursed through Abella, a DZMM report said. 

A department order signed by Andanar last February 27 also states: "The content and messaging of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, including the authority for the final release and distribution, shall hereinafter be under the supervision and control of... Abella." 

Abella, in a text message, confirmed the news, saying Andanar will now focus on "departmental affairs" of the PCOO.

Andanar, meanwhile, said he will concentrate on running the department and its attached agencies "to ensure lasting reforms." 

These agencies, he said, include the Philippine Information Agency, the News and Information Bureau, Bureau of Broadcast Services, and state-run media outlets. 

Andanar said he will still speak for the President if Abella is unavailable. 

He also denied that the reorganization was an offshoot of his recent conflict with the media, but rather, part of a plan to revive the Office of the Press Secretary to replace the PCOO, the executive order for which is pending on the President's desk.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) last week called for Andanar's resignation after he claimed that members of the media were offered money to attend a press conference. 

Andanar offered no apology for his comment, saying he did not claim that Senate reporters took the money but that he was standing by an intelligence report that at least $1,000 were making rounds during a press conference organized by administration critic, Senator Antonio Trillanes. 

--With reports from Dexter Ganibe, DZMM; Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News