MANILA - Clarificatory questions about the pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte should be directed to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), Malacañang officials said after the administration received flak over conflicting statements of Cabinet secretaries on several issues.
"If I don't put my foot down, it's a damn if you do, damn if you don't thing," PCO chief Martin Andanar said.
Under the new communications policy, "all questions that are asked about clarificatory pronouncements should be directed first to the PCO, and it is only then that the PCO will determine who among the secretaries can comprehensively explain a presidential pronouncement that needs clarification."
"Please go to us... so we can huddle together, craft a message, compose the clarification that you need... So that we will not fall into a very confusing situation," Andanar told Palace reporters.
Andanar said the president approved the move to streamline the government's communications policy after he "appealed to the Cabinet secretaries to follow the standard operating procedures which was agreed upon from Day 1 that it is only Sec. Abella who can speak in behalf of the President."
"We welcome the wisdom of Senator Panfilo Lacson for bringing up the issue of having too many spokespersons," Andanar said.
"We accept the criticisms (against the Palace's communication policy). We take these as constructive criticisms," he added.
Palace officials have been quoted as giving varied interpretations of the president's declaration of a state of lawless violence, his directive for American troops to leave the country and his stand on the execution of Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia.
READ: Duterte declares 'state of lawlessness'
READ: Palace: Duterte didn't give 'go-ahead' for Veloso's execution