Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Thursday he will be more “visible” as he becomes the next spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte.
He made the statement even as Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque on Thursday denied the claim by the Kabayan party-list group that he had sent “feelers” to become one of its nominees in next year’s midterm elections.
“Absolutely false,” Roque told reporters in a text message in response to Kabayan’s claim that it was “not surprised” about receiving a feeler from Roque, who used to be their member.
Panelo confirmed to reporters that he would replace Roque who remains undecided on whether to join the coming elections.
He said being the President’s mouthpiece was not “new” to him as he had spoken on behalf of Duterte since the start of his campaign.
“In fact, the executive order creating this office, my present position, states that I am the spokesperson of the President,” said Panelo in a video sent by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.
“So actually nothing has changed, the only difference I think is that I would be more visible this time.”
Panelo implied that the tasks of the spokesman is similar to that of his concurrent job as Duterte’s legal adviser.
“As Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, I was really speaking for the President on matters of sensitive issues that require my articulation of the thoughts and ideas of the President,” he said.
Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go said Panelo would start his job as Duterte’s spokesman next week.
Roque, meanwhile, said he did not resign, denying speculation two days after the President disclosed he threatened to give up his post for being kept in the dark about Duterte’s sudden hospital visit on Oct. 3.
However, he was out of the loop anew as he admitted he was unaware of the recent development in commands at the Palace.
“Not yet,” he said, adding he will defer commenting “on everything” until he came back from an intercessional conference in China on Monday.
Asked if he will push through with his senatorial candidacy, Roque said he had not decided yet.
Last week, Roque took the weekend to reflect and decide on his career as a government official.
He has been offered by the President to head the planned reorganization of Presidential Communications Operations Office to the Office of the Press Secretary. With PNA