Unlike Roque, Panel not kept in the dark

October 18, 2018
Harry Roque
Harry Roque

A DAY after Palace reporters were kept in the dark on the President’s three engagements in Malacañang on Wednesday, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that he has access to President Rodrigo Duterte and knows his schedule—something that his predecessor Harry Roque, Jr. did not have in a number of instances.

“I have the access… I have the schedule of the President. They send it to me in my email,” Panelo said yesterday.

“And we always meet,” he said of Duterte. “We always see each other.”

Beat reporters in the Palace, however, were not informed of Duterte’s three engagements in Malacañang on Wednesday afternoon: the signing of the joint oil exploration deal between the Philippines with Israeli firm Ratio Petroleum Ltd.; the courtesy call of Japan’s Special Advisor for Foreign Affairs to the President of the Liberal Democratic Party Katsuyuki Kawai; and the courtesy call of United Arab Emirates Chief of Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship Ali Mohammad Al Shamsi.

A news release about these engagements was released to reporters on Thursday morning at 9:56 a.m.

Before he was abruptly replaced by Panelo, Roque was not informed of President Duterte’s hospital visit three weeks ago. He was also not informed that Duterte had gone to Hong Kong with his family not long after, instead erroneously telling the media that the President was in Davao.

It was the President who disclosed his hospital visit, and his trip to Hong Kong was announced by former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go.

Roque, when he filed his candidacy for Senator, said that these instances prompted him to think that he could have done his job better if he had been better informed.

Roque, however, maintained that he never felt disrespected by Duterte during his stint as the President’s spokesperson, even though Duterte himself declared that Roque would not win the Senate seat he had aspired for due to lack of support.