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 will be acting concurrently as Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson.
He pointed out that his office has a “dual function” serving the two positions.
According to Panelo, Duterte bared that he has decided to make Panelo his next spokesperson during their Cabinet meeting last Monday.
“Secretary Bong Go told me that I would be Presidential Spokesperson and concurrently Chief Presidential Legal Counsel,” Panelo said.
Panelo, however, said that he is 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 opts 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 is 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.
Panelo, meanwhile, said that he is supportive of Roque should he decide to seek public office.
“But I’ll support him if he runs. I told him,” he said.
Duterte earlier bared that at least six Cabinet officials are seeking local and national posts in next year’s polls.
The President named Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, Roque, Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Guiling Mamondiong as other Cabinet members who may run in the upcoming elections.
Panelo said he was not privy as to whether Duterte had replacements for Cabinet members leaving their posts but added that he heard from the news that Ambassador to the United Nations Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr. will replace Cayetano as foreign affairs chief.
“I suppose the President has some names already in his mind,” Panelo said. (PNA)