Duterte to tap Panelo to lead Office of the Press Secretary
MANILA - The future of presidential spokesperson Harry Roque under the Duterte administration is now uncertain after President Rodrigo Duterte apparently let him go for threatening to resign.
Roque earlier lamented that he was left “in the dark” after he was not informed of the chief executive’s medical procedure to check on the “growth” in his digestive tract at a San Juan City hospital last Wednesday.
A day after his visit to the hospital, Duterte said in a speech before Philippine Military Academy alumni in Malacañang that Roque should just stay in the administration as he won’t win in the polls. The presidential spokesperson is lagging in the latest senatorial survey.
Roque said he was “taken aback” by the President’s statement, and said he would still consult the President on whether he will really push through with his Senate bid.
Speaking to reporters in Malacañang on Tuesday, Duterte said Roque appears bent on running and even offered to resign for supposedly being not informed about his trip to the hospital last week.
“Hindi ko man maintindihan. 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. So he was not informed. Hindi naman kailangan sabihin ko lahat eh. There are things which are limited to the immediate members of the family,” Duterte said.
(I can’t understand him. So I’m giving that margin of safety. He said he will resign because he didn’t know I was in the hospital. So he was not informed. But I don’t have to tell everything. There are things which are liited to the immediate members of the family.)
“And sabi niya, mag-resign siya. Sabi ko ‘di sige.”
(He said he will resign. I said fine.)
Duterte explained that “if there’s something wrong” about his health, “then I would communicate with the Cabinet members.”
“Nothing of that sort happened so parang masabi na hindi ako pumunta, hindi naman siya nagtanong so he felt that he was placed in a bad light. Parang he was lying,” Duterte said.
As he talked about Roque’s plans, Duterte also discussed his plans to re-organize the Palace’s communications machinery.
Panelo to become press secretary
Duterte confirmed his plan to revive the Office of the Press Secretary and said he would tap Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo to lead the office.
He said with Panelo possibly being tapped to lead the OPS, a position initially offered to Roque, the presidential spokesperson may be left without a post under his administration should he drop his plan to run.
“Kaya naipit nga si Roque. It’s not my fault actually. Sabi niya tatakbo siya. Hindi siya tatakbo. Tatakbo. Tapos sabi ko --- namili na kaagad ako. Para walang paralysis sa flow ng functions,” Duterte said.
(Roque was put in a tight spot. It’s not my fault actually. He said he will run. Then he said he will not run. So I said, I will make the decision so there will be no paralysis in the flow of functions.)
Duterte said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar, meanwhile, will be a tapped as a “consultant” because there are “so many things they have to reconfigure in PTV4.”