Harry Roque returns as Duterte spokesman

MANILA, Philippines –  Months after resigning from his post to run in the 2019 midterm elections, lawyer Harry Roque will once again take the spot as presidential spokesperson for President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Secretary Salvador Panelo confirmed this in a message to reporters Monday, April 13. 

"Yup Harry Roque will be back to his previous post," Panelo said, adding he will remain as Duterte’s chief legal counsel. 

In a statement on Monday, Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Rachel Queenie Rodulfo also confirmed this saying, "Harry Roque has accepted the offer of President Rodrigo Duterte to rejoin the Administration.... Welcome back, Secretary Roque," 

Roque said he will resume his role Monday afternoon. 

Roque assumes the post from Panelo, who became spokesperson after Roque ran for senator during the 2019 midterm elections. Roque last stood behind the spokesman’s podium in October 2018. 

The switch comes as the Philippines grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, that has killed 297 people and infected 4,648 more as of Sunday, April 12.

According to Panelo, Roque was reappointed to his former post as “the present crisis requires a new tack in messaging.” 

As presidential spokesperson, Roque, a former human rights lawyer, had been widely criticized for taking positions contrary to what he had advocated for before joining government (READ: Harry Roque pirouettes for Duterte)

Roque earlier told Rappler that he has “ceased to have personal opinions” as he spoke for the President.  

Upon filing his certificate of candidacy for the 2019 midterm elections, Roque also said then that he would continue to defend Duterte. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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