MANILA – Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo will
be the next spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Panelo confirmed to reporters that he will take on the job as
the President’s mouthpiece, a post that was initially given to
him when Duterte assumed office in 2016.
Panelo’s designation as Duterte’s spokesperson two years ago
had been met with criticism because of his role as
former legal counsel of the Ampatuans, the main suspects in
the gruesome Maguindanao massacre.
It is still uncertain what will happen to Presidential
Spokesperson Harry Roque, who said he has not yet resigned but
whose senatorial bid remains uncertain.
Informed about Panelo’s designation as spokesperson, Roque told
reporters: “Let’s wait for next week.”
Roque’s Senate bid was all but confirmed, until Duterte told
him to stay in the administration and defer his plan to run.
The President had said Roque
won’t win in the polls.
The outspoken Roque, who is a laggard in the recent senatorial
surveys, was initially offered by the President to head the
soon-to-be revived Office of the Press Secretary, but the chief
executive changed his mind and said he would give the job to
his chief legal counsel, Panelo.
Duterte said he decided to take back his job offer to Roque
after the latter said he will just resign and lamented that he
was left in the dark about the President’s trip to the
It remains to be seen whether Roque will file his COC for any
elective post, as he is scheduled to fly to China on Thursday
for a private engagement and will be back on Monday, Oct. 15.