Panelo is Duterte’s new spokesperson

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MANILA — Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Thursday confirmed that he will replace Secretary Harry Roque as Presidential Spokesperson.

Panelo will replace  Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roeuq, said Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.

On Monday, Panelo will  start to  work as the  Presidential Spokesperson and at the same time the Presidential Legal Adviser.

Panelo said there was really not much of a difference in his current role since he had always been speaking on behalf of the President since the start of campaign period in 2016.

“Actually wala namang pagbabago kasi (there’s not much of a difference). Day One of the presidential campaign of the President, I was already his spokesperson. And Day One when he assumed presidency, I was also his spokesperson,” Panelo said in a recorded interview from Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

“In fact, the executive order creating this office, my present position states that I am the spokesperson of the President,” he added, although he did not elaborate which particular EO.

Unlike before, Panelo said he would be “more visible” this time.

“As Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, I was really speaking for the President on matters of national sensitive issues that require my articulation of thoughts and ideas of the President,” Panelo said.

Special Assistant to the President clarified that Panelo will have the concurrent role of both legal adviser and spokesperson since Roque has yet to resign.

Roque, who remains undecided on whether he will stay or vacate his post to join the senatorial race, has filed a leave and is currently in China for a personal engagement.

“I will defer any comment until Monday since I am in China,” Roque said in a text message.

Despite naming Panelo as new spokesperson, Go said this did not mean that Roque was fired.

“On leave si Roque. He is still weighing his options. Walang sinibak (No one is fired),” Go said.

Last Oct. 9, President Rodrigo R. Duterte bared that he is eyeing Panelo to be the new chief of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) once it is revived.

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

“I’m going to but if — I’m going to reorganize Press Secretary. Kanya lahat (It’s all his),” Duterte told reporters after administering the oath of officers of Malacañang Press Corps.

Duterte said he first offered the post to Roque, who has considered resigning to run for senator. –PNA

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