DAVAO CITY, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte was tight-lipped about the reason on why Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella was replaced by KABAYAN Representative Harry Roque.
“The reason is my personal decision. I am not about to explain why I did it,” Duterte told reporters at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport before he left for Japan Sunday evening, October 29.
What is clear though is that the President has expressed confidence to Roque’s competence is conveying the president’s message to the public.
“It’s in the messaging, actually. We cannot speak the same words all together but how he would convey that message from me would be most important,” said Duterte.
Roque’s appointment was announced last Friday, October 27 when Duterte attended his birthday celebration in this city. The new presidential spokesperson is slated to join the first Cabinet meeting on November 6, according to Duterte.
Malacanang, however, has yet to release Roque’s appointment paper.
When the President was asked about Abella’s next position, he said: “I will answer you when he’s there.” Early on, reports have surfaced that Abella will be given a rank as an undersecretary.
Reports have surfaced hinted that Duterte was dissatisfied” with how Abella, a former religious pastor and the current spokesman of Duterte, handled the media on various issued that the Duterte administration is facing.
Roque’s new role as Duterte’s spokesman signals an aggressive and combative presidential spokesperson to defend the chief executive.
On the other hand, in a strongly-worded statement, Roque said that his human rights advocacy will not be compromised given the new role he has now under the Duterte administration.
“By accepting this position, I am not condoning the violence surrounding the government’s anti-drug campaign, nor do I intend to further the same,” he said . (davaotoday.com)