MANILA – Outgoing Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Monday said his replacement, human rights lawyer and Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque, meets the expectations of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Roque is set to replace Abella as presidential spokesperson more than a year after the latter took on the role of explaining and softening the blow of the controversial statements of the firebrand leader.
In a text message, Abella said: "It is clear that the President has very sure instincts and that Roque meets his expectations."
He added he believes Roque “will be more than adequate for the occasion and will deliver the right support needed for PRRD’s (Duterte’s) program of government.
It was earlier reported that Duterte decided to replace Abella over the latter’s handling of the media in the wake of the 2-digit decline in his net satisfaction and trust ratings in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
Duterte announced on Friday his decision to tap Roque as his new spokesperson. Before leaving for Japan on Sunday, however, the President refused to share his reason for appointing the lawmaker, saying it was his “personal decision.”
Roque, meanwhile, has said he would use his position to bring up human rights issues with Duterte, even as he been urged by some people not to accept the appointment.
In a radio interview on Monday, Roque said he is not privy to the reason why Duterte replaced Abella.
"Well in fact, sa tingin ko nga po napakahirap na sundan ang accomplishment ni Secretary Abella ‘no. Pero wala naman pong dahilan na sinabi si Presidente kung bakit niya napalitan at kung bakit ako ang natalaga ‘no. Siyempre po iyan po ay discretion talaga ng appointing power ‘no,” he said.