Change is coming

October 06, 2018
Martin Andanar

COMMUNICATIONS Secretary Martin Andanar yesterday bared that the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) would soon revert to the Office of the Press Secretary, as a major revamp in the Cabinet looms.

Andanar revealed that plans to revive the Office of the Press Secretary had been discussed in previous hearings in the Senate.

Andanar said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has been offered the post of Press Secretary.

“Office of the Press Secretary ‘yun ang inaalok kay Sec. Harry Roque. Importante kasi si Sec. Harry Roque sa communications,” Andanar said.

President Rodrigo Duterte had said Thursday he would offer a new position to Roque, who he said is unlikely to succeed if he runs for the Senate in the 2019 mid-term elections.

“Si Secretary Harry Roque kinakausap namin kung puwede ipagpaliban ‘yung kaniyang pagkandidato dahil kailangan siya sa Communications team,” Andanar said.

Andanar added that he was ready to sacrifice his own position just to stop Roque from running in the coming elections.

Andanar, however, is not yet certain if his agency will remove or create new posts such as press attachés in missions abroad, particularly in key trading partners like the United States, China, Japan, United Kingdom, and countries in Europe and the Middle East.

“Pangarap natin magkaroon ng press attaché. Panahon na. Dito nga sa Pilipinas ang embahada ng Amerika may press attache,” he pointed out.

Andanar said he was ready to leave his post for wherever the President may assign him next.

“I already achieved my objectives for the government media,” he said, citing the ratings enjoyed now by state-run PTV, Radyo Pilipinas and its FM station.

He said social media reach of state communications pages has increased from 400,000 to 4 million.

A “major revamp” is expected in Duterte’s Cabinet as the election season looms.

Presidential spokesperson Roque said there would be new appointments as early as “next week” as “possibly six Cabinet members (will be) filing their certificates of candidacy.”

Roque is among those supposedly eyeing a Senate seat in the 2019 polls, but he has yet to decide on running.

If members of the Duterte administration decide to run, they will be deemed resigned from their respective posts when they file their certificates of candidacy.

The filing of COCs will start on October 11.

Aside from Roque, those supposedly eyeing Senate seats or local posts in 2019 include Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino, and Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr.

Twelve Senate seats are at stake in the May 2019 midterm elections.

Tolentino, however, said he remains focused on his electoral protest against detained Sen. Leila de Lima, who ranked 12th in the 2016 elections. Running in the 2019 polls would render his electoral protest moot.

Evasco, meanwhile, is reported to be eyeing the gubernatorial post in Bohol. He is a former mayor of the town of Maribojoc.

Duterte earlier announced that former Customs chief and now Office of Civil Defense Deputy Administrator Nicanor Faeldon was also planning to run for governor in Mindoro.