Martes, 23 Octubre, 2018

Abella is sole Palace mouthpiece - Andanar

Eleena Tovar | 02 Marcha, 2017, 19:33

Andanar, in a text message, said he would stop speaking for the Palace regularly, and would concentrate instead on running the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and its attached agencies.

"In the exigency of service and in accordance with the authority of the secretary. the content and messaging of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, including the authority for the final release and distribution, shall hereinafter be under the supervision and control of the Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella", read an unnumbered order signed by Andanar on February 27. The order states that all "content and messaging of the PCOO including the final release and distribution" of materials is left to the supervision and discretion of Abella.

Mr. Andanar had caused the ire of Senate reporters when he claimed they were being handed out money to cover the press conference that presented confessed Davao Death Squad leader Arthur B. Lascañas.

Abella's functions used to be limited to overseeing briefings, responding to media queries, and giving interviews while Andanar - who handled radio and TV interviews in the morning - maintained supervision in overall the issuance of press releases, official photos, transcripts and similar documents.

It was not the first time the Communications Secretary had a rift with reporters.

Andanar said an executive order that would revive the OPS is awaiting the signature of President Duterte.

Before assuming the presidency, Duterte said he preferred to have just one press office. He surprised the Senate media when he arrived at a restaurant at the Mall of Asia, where the media men were gathered for a dinner hosted by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.

Senate reporters were quick to deny Andanar's allegation and demanded a public apology from him.

Some reporters left immediately after Andanar arrived while others chose to stay only to interview Pimentel.

The Communications secretary earlier accused the media of misreporting Duterte's remarks on when he would declare martial law, calling it "the height of journalistic irresponsibility".

Palace reporters fired back at Andanar and told him "to get a better picture of the media's coverage of the President".

Andanar then contradicted President Duterte, who vowed to help survivors of the Surigao quake with P2 billion in financial assistance. No such fund existed, Andanar said the next day, only to be corrected the following day.