- Duterte named Ernesto Abella as new presidential spokesperson
- Abella said he is designated as presidential spokesman and not a deputy as Atty. Sal Panelo claimed
- Abella is a former pastor whom Duterte saved from kidnappers in 1996
Soon-to-be President Rodrigo Duterte appointed a man whom he saved from kidnappers years ago as presidential spokesperson.
Ernesto Abella, described as a social entrepreneur, educator and a former pastor, has been named as one of Duterte’s designated spokespersons and not a deputy of incoming presidential spokesman Atty. Salvador Panelo.
Earlier, Panelo made a clarification regarding the appointment of Abella. He told reporters that he stays in the same position given to him earlier and clarified that Ernie Abella will act as his deputy.
Sun Star’s Karina Canedo wrote in her article dated June 14, 2016 that according to Panelo, he was not able to talk to Duterte on any changes in his role or appointment in the Cabinet.
Panelo said it was him who brought up the idea to Duterte that a deputy is needed to help him in his task as a presidential spokesperson.
Abella confirmed that he is not Panelo’s replacement, but said he was named as one of the designated presidential spokespersons and not a deputy.
“I don’t know if Sal Panelo and I are co-equals. I don’t know if my position is Cabinet-rank. All I know is that he (Duterte) needs a conduit from himself to the people and the press, and this is one of his practical ways of dealing with it,” Abella told reporters in Davao City on Tuesday night, June 14.
Abella said he and Panelo has yet to meet. He said he does not know how he and Panelo would divide the task of relaying the President-elect’s official statements.