Duterte stops Roque from naming gov’t official facing ax

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / JOAN BONDOC

President Rodrigo Duterte has stopped his spokesperson from identifying a ranking official who faces termination from government, a Palace official said Wednesday.

Days after hinting of a looming relief of another top-level official, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he was ordered to “hold in abeyance” the declaration that was supposed to be made on the same day.

“Also, as of 7:00 this morning, I read a text instructing me to hold in abeyance announcement of who it is that the President will sack next,” Roque said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

“Of course, this is not the first time it has happened. When he announced that he will fire an entire commission, he did not mention which commission first and it took couple of days before I was authorized to make the announcement,” he added.

Roque said Duterte cited no reasons for the delay, but explained that the chief executive was studying the legislative charter of the agency which the official leads.

He denied that the unidentified official was from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), which was thrown into the spotlight last December for its “lavish” Christmas party in a five-star hotel.

“And what I said is he [Duterte] holds in high esteem both [General Manager Alexander Balutan] of PCSO and Director Sandra Cam whom he recently appointed to the post,” Roque said.

The spokesperson did not cite the offense that the official committed but noted that all presidential appointees serve at the pleasure of the President and they must “lead modest lives” and “comply with the laws against graft and corruption.” /cbb


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