PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s communications team is implementing an internal reorganization following recent run-ins by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar with the media.
Andanar, in a text message, said he would stop speaking for the Palace regularly, and would concentrate instead on running the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and its attached agencies.
All official statements of President Duterte will be coursed through presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, he said.
“The entire PCOO Proper ‘Content Group’ is now under Spokesperson Ernesto Abella,” he said.
Andanar, however, said he would still release statements in Abella’s absence.
The changes came in the wake of Andanar’s run-ins with the media and repeated pronouncements of a destabilization plot against the administration, which was denied by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
Andanar’s last appearance in a Palace briefing was on February 21, when he lost his cool over a question of a reporter about his claim that a $1,000 bribe was offered to each Senate reporter to write about the confession of ex-policeman Arturo Lascañas that he was Duterte’s top henchman in the so-called “Davao Death Squad.”
Senate reporters were quick to deny Andanar’s allegation and demanded a public apology from him. The PCOO chief, however, refused.