CHIEF Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Friday, October 12, announced that he would assume the concurrent position of Presidential Spokesperson "effective immediately."
Panelo, in an interview with Palace reporters, said he was delegated as President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesperson through a memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Thursday, October 11.
Duterte's top lawyer issued the statement even after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. announced Thursday that he has not resigned from the post.
Panelo said he was given the new role to ensure "continuous and effective delivery of public service."
"I was designated Presidential Spokesperson by the President, pursuant to an October 11 addressed to me signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. It says, 'In compliance with the instructions of the President and to ensure the continuous and effective delivery of public service, you are hereby designated presidential spokesperson effective immediately,'" he said.
As Duterte's spokesman, Panelo said he would introduce "some changes."
"I feel like before I make a news briefing, I want to talk to heads of the departments and offices, sensitive ones, so I will know exactly what they want to share to the public any concern or issue that is vital," he said.
Early Friday morning, Duterte said Panelo's appointment as spokesperson would merely be "temporary," since he still has to talk to Roque, who is still torn between staying in the Palace or running for senator in the 2019 mid-term elections.
Panelo said he has "no personal knowledge" on his temporary appointment as the President's mouthpiece.
Panelo said he also has no idea about Roque's status to date, but noted that the latter was determined to seek an elective post.
He, nevertheless, divulged that Roque would still hold a Palace briefing on Monday, October 15.
"What I know is, when I was asking him (Roque) some time, he really wants to be a senator. That's what I know," Panelo said.
"Actually, hindi ko alam (I don't know what will happen to Roque). But ang alam ko (I know), he texted me, he asked me if he can meet you on Monday, siguro (perhaps) to say his goodbyes and thanks. So he will be there on Monday," he added. (SunStar Philippines)