MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed the chairman emeritus of newspaper Manila Times as his “special envoy for international public relations.”
Malacañang, when sought by Rappler for confirmation, said the appointment was made on May 3 but it has yet to release the official document.
“Dante Arevalo Ang [was appointed] as Special Envoy of the President for International Public Relations. Date of appointment [was] May 3, 2017,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a text message.
On May 9, the newspaper announced Ang’s appointment as special envoy under the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The designation, however, was not included in the list of appointees Malacañang sent to the media on the same day.
However, the Palace issued a list of appointments, including Ang's as Special Envoy for International Public Relations, on Wednesday, May 17.
Abella did not respond when asked about Ang’s exact role in his new post. A Palace official during the previous administration said they did not have a similar post.
Duterte has been drawing flak from the international press for his bloody war on drugs and foreign policy. (READ: New York Times editorial calls Duterte 'man who must be stopped')
Ang is a known loyalist of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, having been her senior publicist. He is also a trusted friend of the former president.
In 2001, during Arroyo’s term, Ang bought the Manila Times from then owner Mark Jimenez. (READ: Dante's business)
Arroyo later appointed him chairman of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas from December 2005 until Arroyo’s last day in office on June 30, 2010. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org