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Panelo named new spokesman

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President Rodrigo Duterte chats with Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo after the 5th Cabinet meeting in Malacañan’s State Dining Room in this file photo taken on August 22, 2016. — PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

CHIEF PRESIDENTIAL Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo was appointed the new presidential spokesperson, according to Mr. Panelo himself and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence T. Go.

Mr. Go said in a phone message to reporters on Thursday that the presidential legal adviser starts his “concurrent” role as presidential spokesman “today.”

Sought for comment, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar said: “SAP (Special Assistant to the President) has the last say. If he says now, then now,” referring to the effectivity of Mr. Panelo’s new position.

As for Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr., Mr. Go said he is “on leave,” and “he is still weighing his options. Walang sibak (No one was fired).”

Mr. Roque, for his part, said in a phone message on Thursday: “People, I have not resigned. Thanks!”

“I will defer any comment until Monday since I am in China,” he also said.

Regarding the option to run for senator, Mr. Roque said, “Still not sure [if] I will run for Senate.”

The Palace announced also on Thursday the appointment of Major General Macairog S. Alberto as the new commanding general of the Philippine Army.

Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran was also reappointed to his position. — A. L. Balinbin