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Friends kami! Roque blames budget cuts, not Andanar, for office downsizing

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Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque has dispelled rumors about the brewing rift with Presidential Communications Martin Andanar that supposedly led to his downsized office operations.

“Absolutely none, absolute none. Lightning strike me, absolute none,” Roque said in a chance interview with Malacañang-based journalists about a reported conflict with Andanar.

Roque, a human rights lawyer before joining the Duterte administration late last year, said there were some budget cuts in the Palace that resulted in the removal of several contractual employees and thereby limiting the operations of his office. He said he lost four workers in his office due to the budget cut.

“I was told I will lose my PR writer. I’m back to writing my own PR, which is no problem,” he said.

The Presidential New Desk recently stopped issuing official transcripts of Roque’s press briefings in Malacañang and the provinces. The PND, an office attached to the Presidential Communications Operations Office, was supposed to just focus only on the President’s speeches and media interviews.

Rumors circulated in the Palace that Roque has been deprived of the PND transcription services to prevent any abuse of government resources to advance his senatorial ambition next year.

Shortly after Roque’s encounter with the Palace press, the PND resumed transcribing his press briefing conducted on Monday.

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