Duterte: Replacing Abella as spokesperson a ‘personal decision’
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday was tightlipped about his decision to replace Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, only saying that it was his “personal decision.”
“The reason is my personal decision. I am not about to explain why I did it,” Mr. Duterte told a press briefing in Davao City.
When asked if Abella would be given another position, the President said: “I will answer you when he’s there.”
The President said he was confident that Abella’s replacement, Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque, would measure up to his expectations
“He will carry my word to the public and he’s very competent, able, everything,” Mr. Duterte said.
“It’s in the messaging, actually. We cannot speak the same words altogether but how he would convey that message from me would be most important,” he said.
“I trust that he’d be able to come up to the expectations,” he added.
Roque, a former law professor at the University of the Philippines, served as a human rights lawyer before winning a congressional seat as Kabayan representative.
Roque supported the presidential candidacy of former vice president Jejomar Binay in last year’s election.
His advocacies included seeking justice for victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre and transgender woman Jennifer Laude, who was killed by a US Marine in Olongapo City.
He has constantly defended Mr. Duterte in Congress and attacked the President’s critics, particularly detained Sen. Leila de Lima.
In a statement, Abella said Roque would be “more than adequate” in getting the administration’s message across to the public.
“It is clear that the President has very sure instincts and that Roque meets his expectations,” Abella said.
“I believe (Roque) will be more than adequate for the occasion and will deliver the right support needed for PRRD’s program of government,” he added.
Meanwhile, incoming Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary for New Media Lorraine Marie Badoy said she would try to bring the concerns of Malacañang reporters to the President’s attention.
“My office is open to everyone, including you guys. My office will be open. I will be listening,” Badoy said when she dropped by the Malacañang press office yesterday afternoon.
Malacañang reporters had expressed concerns over online attacks by the President’s supporters.
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