MANILA – Presidential Communications Office (PCO) chief Martin Andanar reminisced how President Rodrigo Duterte tapped him to lead his communications group, saying like an apostle of Jesus, he obeyed his orders.
Andanar recalled how Duterte, reeling from his election victory, told him through his trusted aide Bong Go to come to Davao City for a meeting.
He said he only thought he would be giving Duterte pieces of advice on communications. However, the then-President-elect apparently had something much bigger in store for him.
“With characteristic decisiveness, the President-elect instructed me to put back together the presidential communications apparatus fragmented by the outgoing administration. He told me to choose my people and to head the unified apparatus,” Andanar said in his debut opinion piece for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“I was awed by that investment of faith in my abilities. This must have been how those fishermen at Galilee felt when Jesus walked over and told them to follow him, to be fishers of men. Like the apostles, I obeyed.”
Andanar said he did not plan to become the PCO chief, only imagining himself as a volunteer “giving advice here and there, doing some useful things for the President we after all worked to get elected to the post.”
“I did not expect to be assigned the daunting role I ended up with,” he said.
Andanar said Duterte has the habit of tapping people to do things they never imagined themselves capable of doing.
“He invests so much trust in the people he works with, expecting them to exceed expectation. That is at once a source of pride and a personal nightmare,” he said.
Prior to serving as the government’s chief communications official, Andanar worked as a broadcast journalist.