By Genalyn Kabiling
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo is planning to make some changes in the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson (OPS) to improve the government’s communication efforts.
Panelo appeared in his first press briefing in Malacañang Friday and announced his plans for his new job, a day after President Duterte issued a memorandum designating him as new Presidential Spokesperson effective immediately.
A close friend of Duterte, Panelo will continue to serve as the President’s legal counsel in concurrent capacity.
“I might introduce some changes. Like for instance, I feel like before I make a news briefing, I want to talk to heads of the departments and offices, sensitive ones, so that I will know exactly what they want to share to the public any concern or issue that is vital,” he told reporters at the Palace.
Panelo, however, is unlikely to implement a reorganization of the office. He said he would likely keep the same team although he has for a summary of the staff and their responsibilities.
At the start of the press conference, Panelo released a Malancañang memorandum on his additional role in the Duterte Cabinet. The memorandum was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea last Thursday, October 11.
“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,” the memorandum read.
The designation of Panelo came after Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque’s reported plans to run for senator in the 2019 elections.
Panelo said he has no knowledge if Roque has resigned but believed that he “really wants to be senator.”
He said Roque has asked to meet the Malacañang Press Corps on Monday, October 15, probably “to say his goodbyes and thanks.”