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MANILA, Philippines – Confirming word that had circulated as soon as Ernesto Abella was replaced in Malacañang, President Rodrigo Duterte recently named his former spokesman as undersecretary at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Abella’s appointment letter, dated October 27, was made public Thursday, November 23.
The announcement of Abella’s departure from Malacañang was indirect – implied in the sudden naming of lawyer Harry Roque as the new presidential spokesman.
As early as then, the word in the President’s circle was Abella would get a post in the DFA or as an ambassador.
Duterte has remained tight-lipped on his decision to replace Abella. “The reason is a personal decision,” he said on October 29.
Duterte’s decision came after his alleged dissatisfaction with how Abella handled several issues facing his administration, such as the wrong information he cited in threatening to expel European diplomats.
In May, Rappler reported, citing two independent sources, that Abella was set to be given a Cabinet rank and the corresponding title of secretary of a revamped Office of the Presidential Spokesman. This plan did not push through. – Rappler.com