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Roque wala nang babalikan? Panelo is Duterte’s legal chief, spokesperson

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Malacañang on Friday released a memorandum designating Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo as new Presidential Spokesperson.

The memorandum was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Thursday but was only released to the media on Friday.

“In compliance with the instructions of the President, and to ensure the continuous and effective delivery of public service, you are hereby designated Presidential Spokesperson effective immediately,” the memorandum read.

Panelo, in his courtesy appearance before the media, explained that he would be acting concurrently as Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson.

He said hat his office has a “dual function” serving the two positions.

According to Panelo, Duterte bared that he has decided to make him his next spokesperson during their Cabinet meeting last Monday.

Panelo, however, said he was clueless about whether his predecessor Harry Roque has vacated his post.

“I really don’t know. I have no personal knowledge on that. When I was asking him sometime, he really wants to be a senator. That’s what I know,” he said.

Asked if President Rodrigo Duterte could still give Roque a post in case he opted not to run for senator, Panelo said only the President could decide on Roque’s fate.

Roque, who filed a leave starting Thursday, is currently in China for a personal engagement. He deferred giving comments until he returns from his trip on Monday (October 15).

Last Tuesday, Duterte said he was considering Panelo to be the new chief of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) once it is revived.

Panelo, however, said that the OPS has yet to be revived through an Executive Order (EO).

Duterte said he first offered the post to Roque, who remains undecided whether he will continue working for the government or run for senator in next year’s midterm elections.

During the previous administration, the OPS was split into the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO). The latter’s functions were already transferred to the PCOO.

Panelo said he would maintain the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson but “might introduce some changes.”

“For instance, I feel like before I make a news briefing, I want to talk to heads of the departments and offices so that I will know exactly what they want to share to the public. Any concern or issue that is vital,” he said.

(PNA)