Ernesto Abella’s office says he ‘is still presidential spokesperson’

Pia Ranada

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Ernesto Abella’s office says he ‘is still presidential spokesperson’

Robinson Ninal

The Presidential Spokesman's staff say it's uncertain if he will be joining President Duterte when he visits Japan next week

MANILA, Philippines – Amid whisperings that Ernesto Abella may soon be replaced as Presidential Spokesman, his assistant told Malacañang reporters this has yet to be confirmed.

“He is still the Presidential Spokesperson. He is carrying out his mandate,” said Assistant to the Presidential Spokesman China Jocson on Friday, October 27, during a Palace briefing.

Jocson – instead of Abella – moderated the Mindanao Hour briefing that morning. Asked where Abella was, she said he was “not in the building.”

She admitted that she had been called only an hour before the briefing to take Abella’s place. He suddenly could not make it to the briefing because he had to attend to an urgent matter. Jocson said she is not aware what this pressing matter was.

“I just got a call an hour before the press briefing. He intended to be here today. It was an immediate schedule that he could not probably refuse,” said Jocson.

It’s also uncertain if Abella will join Duterte’s trip to Japan next week. Abella is usually a member of the President’s delegation to foreign visits during which he presides over press briefings.

“It’s not yet final whether he will go to Japan or not,” said Jocson.

She assured reporters, however, that Abella is still expected to hold press briefings in Malacañang next week if he is not going to Japan with the President.

There had already been word circulating in certain circles as early as last week that Kabayan Representative Harry Roque was offered a Palace spokesman post by Duterte.

Later on Friday, Duterte is expected to attend Roque’s birthday celebration in Davao City. A source has said this is where they will discuss the President’s offer for a Palace communications post. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.