Andanar hides from media after new PCOO blunders
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar kept reporters waiting outside his office in Malacañang as he refused to take their questions on new blunders of his office.
Palace media trooped to Andanar's office door on Tuesday, May 30, after being told by Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella that questions on wrong photos of the Marawi clashes used by Palace communications agencies or officials should be addressed to Andanar, not him.
Television cameras and smart phones were ready to record Andanar giving his side on the issue.
As Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) chief, Andanar supervises the Philippine News Agency and Assistant Secretary for Social Media Mocha Uson.
The PNA used a Wikimedia Commons photo of the Vietnam War in its article about the Marawi siege while Uson used a photo of Honduras police in a Facebook post about Philippine soldiers.
At the time the media positioned itself outside his office, Andanar was supposedly having a meeting with Abella. Reporters texted Andanar's staff that they were hoping to interview him.
When Abella stepped outside, reporters asked him to tell Andanar the media were waiting for him.
The Presidential Spokesman eventually came back to the door to tell reporters Andanar would soon grant an interview.
But after a few minutes, Andanar's staff texted this reporter that since there was no advice to the Secretary about the interview, he would not face the media.
"No interview. Go downstairs. Thanks," said the staff in a text message.
Cameramen who stayed in front of Andanar's office door were later on told that the Secretary left his office using a different exit to avoid media.
Eventually, the PNA released a statement on its errors. Uson, meanwhile, had posted a reaction on her Facebook page.
It's not clear if Andanar himself will still issue his own statement. But his behavior confused Palace media since, as PCOO chief, it is his mandate to speak on issues hounding his department.
Andanar, once Duterte's spokesman himself and a former news reader, had also previously not shied from on-the-fly media interviews.
Andanar had also given his personal assurance to the public that PCOO would improve its services.
Back in October 2016, Andanar had said the PCOO introduced “new vetting processes” and “layers” of screening to ensure Palace releases contain only accurate information. – Rappler.com
Inside Track is Rappler's intelligencer on people, events, places and everything of public interest. It's a take-off from Newsbreak's Inside Track section. Contributions are most welcome. Just send bits of information to email@example.com.