MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo will formally speak for President Rodrigo Duterte, replacing Harry Roque who is mulling running in 2019.
Presidential aide Bong Go said Panelo's appointment is effective "today," Thursday, October 11.
This comes two days after Duterte had announced he wanted Panelo to take over Roque's functions as as his presidential spokesman "in a temporary or in added function."
"Tutal tiga-announce man lang 'yan si Sal Panelo. With all sartorial elegance, medyo maganda siguro tingnan," Duterte had said, referring to Panelo's flamboyant sense of style. (Anyway, he will just make announcements, Sal Panelo. With all the sartorial elegance, it will look good.)
Thus, Panelo will be both spokesman and chief presidential legal counsel while Duterte looks for another appointee for the post that Panelo will vacate.
But Go also said Roque has not been fired. Since Roque also told reporters on Thursday that he has not yet resigned, Duterte now has two spokesmen. Roque, however, is on leave to attend a conference in China.
On Tuesday, October 9, Duterte had also said Panelo would become Press Secretary, a post the President had originally intended for Roque.
Duterte had offered the post to convince Roque not to run for senator in 2019. The President had said Roque likely won't win because he supposedly doesn't have the military's support.
But so far, Roque has not yet confirmed his plans for the 2019 elections. He is set to return on Monday, October 15. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.