MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has offered his spokesman, Harry Roque, to lead the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), Communication Secretary Martin Andanar said Saturday.
“Iyong Office of the Press Secretary ay iyonanginaalok para kay Harry Roque (The Office of the Press Secretary was offered to Harry Roque),” he said in an interview over DZMM.
Asked what would happen to PCOO, Andanar said his agency is likely to be replaced by the OPS.
Andanar made this remark after Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III bared in a Senate hearing last Wednesday that he is looking into the possibility of reverting the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to the OPS.
He, however, described it as a “sacrifice” worth making.
“Akonaman ay handangmagsakripisyo para lamanghinditumakbosi Harry Roque (I am ready to make a sacrifice so that Harry Roque does not run during the 2019 midterm elections),” Andanar said.
Roque, however, said he has yet to make up his mind about joining the senatorial race. He said he will spend the whole weekend contemplating Duterte’s suggestion to stay and not to run as senator in next year’s mid-term elections.
It may be recalled that the OPS was split into the PCOO and the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) during the term of former president Benigno Aquino III.
Aquino abolished the PCDSPO and transferred its functions to the PCOO.
Sotto earlier said he wanted the PCOO reverted to OPS since the former was only created to “accommodate political friends of the previous administration.”
He has tabled his proposal to Duterte who has expressed support for it.
Andanar added that the OPS would consolidate the functions of the PCOO, PCDSPO, and the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson.
“This time around, hindilangiyong PCDSPO at PCOO iyongpag-iisahin, patiiyong Office of the Presidential Spokesperson ay isasama, parang one nalang (it won’t be just the PCDSPO and PCOO that will be joined. It will include the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson so that there’s just one agency),” he said.
Meanwhile, the communication chief said he felt that he has achieved his objectives as PCOO chief by improving its attached agencies, including the state-run PTV-4, RadyoPilipinas, and the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
“I’ve already done what — I thought that I’ve already achieved my objectives for the government media,” he said.
Andanar said he is also open to accepting whatever task the President would give him.
“Kung saanakogustongilagayniPresidente, eh siyempre eh kung alamkonamanna of course (Wherever the President wants to place me next, if I can handle it, of course I’ll accept it),” Andanar said.
“Walanamangproblema, karangalanangmagsilbisabayan, pagsilbiniPangulongDuterte (I don’t see a problem. It is an honor to serve the people, serve President Duterte),” he added. (PNA)