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Duterte appoints Harry Roque presidential spokesperson


President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed former Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque as his new spokesperson.

The president made the announcement during Roque's birthday dinner in Davao City late Friday night.

“Hindi na congressman, secretary na siya," Duterte said.

"To get the message clear, sabi ko Harry will fit the - kasi medyo malikot ang bunganga namin," he added.

Roque will attend his first Cabinet meeting on Nov. 6.

Before taking his oath of office in June 2016, Duterte had described a presidential spokesperson as "somebody who is articulate. Somebody who has a working knowledge of at least the government. We do not expect him to be a lawyer like [Marcos-era information minister Francisco] Tatad noon. But somebody who can explain to the public what is on the mind of the president and articulate him before the public.”

According to his own website, Roque is a human rights advocate and founder of the Center for International Law Manila.

The Kabayan party-list had asked the Commission on Elections to proclaim lawyer Ciriaco Calalang as Roque's replacement after the latter was removed from the party-list last January.

Roque will have a rank of a secretary. Dutere's first presidential spokesperson, Ernesto Abella, is an undersecretary.

Roque's working relationship with Abella remained unclear.

Abella’s appointment as the presidential spokesperson was announced in June 2016.

Before joining the Duterte administration, Abella was a president of a secondary school and a founder of a trading cooperative.

He was also a pastor, a social entrepreneur, and an instructor at an Ateneo school.

He also worked  in the advertising industry for five years.

Duterte initially appointed Salvador Panelo as his temporary spokesperson but later appointed him as his Chief Presidential Legal Counsel. — DVM, GMA News

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