By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Lawyer Harry Roque was brought back as President Duterte’s spokesman as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation needed a new tact of messaging, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo made the statement after it was reported that Roque was returning to Malacañang to serve as presidential spokesman, a post he held from late 2017 to 2018 before resigning to run for Senate in the 2019 polls.
In a text message, Panelo confirmed that Roque was reclaiming his seat in the Palace. He, however, clarified that he is still Duterte’s chief legal counsel.
“Yup. Harry Roque will be back to his previous post. I’m still the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel. I will be performing the same role as the President’s chief lawyer and issuing statements as such,” he said.
When asked why Roque was bought back, Panelo said the COVID-19 situation called for another method of delivering the message to the public.
“The present crisis requires a new tack in messaging,” he said.
Roque resigned from Duterte’s Cabinet in October 2018 to run for Senate. He, however, withdrew his candidacy due to health reasons.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar earlier said Roque was offered to lead the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) which was planned to be revived after being dissolved by the previous Aquino administration.