‘Ridiculous,’ says Drilon of Duterte’s ‘spokespersons’
Saying it was “ridiculous” that many people were speaking in behalf of the President, Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon on Monday urged Malacañang to stop other Cabinet members, except for the official spokespersons, from “speaking for the President.”
Drilon noted that for almost three months since the new administration assumed office, too many people have been speaking in behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The senator said Malacanang should only have one spokesperson and that should be either Secretary Ernesto Abella or Secretary Martin Andanar as head of the Presidential Communications Office (PCOO).
“Whether or not you admit that, whether or not you like it, marami kayong nagsasalita para sa Pangulo at hindi maganda. It’s a difficult job,” Drilon said during a hearing of the Senate committee on finance.
“For the sake of administration, you better have message discipline,” he said.
“Ang dami-dami nyong nagsasalita. Siguro dahil bagong administration, everybody thinks that getting to the microphone for the press is something that’s good for their health. They do not realize that as you go along aba’y magkakaroon ka ng heart attack,” he said.
Andanar, who was defending the proposed budget of his office for 2017, agreed with Drilon’s observation.
“Yes, I agree with you that there’s a perception that there are too many spokespersons and it’s not good. That’s why I had to put down my foot again in the last Cabinet meeting and I asked for the President’s support to allow the PCOO to have the opportunity to speak first,” he said.
Andanar said other Cabinet members would only be allowed to speak on their field of expertise or if there were pronouncements that needed to be clarified.
Asked by Drilon how the President responded to the suggestion, Andanar said: “The President said yes, that it should go through the PCOO.”
At this point, Drilon suggested that the Executive Secretary relay the President’s statement to all Cabinet members.
“May I suggest that you get the Executive Secretary to issue an order to all Cabinet members [that] henceforth only Secretary Andanar, Secretary Abella and probably the Executive Secretary can speak for and behalf of the President,” the senator said.
“Nakakalungkot at nakakatawa kayo. Ang dami-dami nyong nagsasalita para sa Pangulo, kung sino-sino,” he added.
“Unless you translate that in an official, written communication, hindi ka papansinin ng mga kasamahan sa Malacnanang. Pag hindi mo gagawin yan, I’ll tell you Mr. Andnar, after one year baka magka-heart attack ka. Bata ka pa,” Drilon said.
Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the committee, agreed with Drilon’s suggestion.
“Just to be fair to them, it’s not the first time that this happened, every administration in the first three months …” Legarda said, but she was interrupted by Drilon.
“I’ve been in government for quite a while, ito ang pinakamatinding three months ng any administration. So many spokespersons are talking in behalf of the President so that one columnist already said your office is presidential miscommunication office,” Drilon said./rga
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