The Philippine Star

Coloma meets Panelo

- Aurea Calica

Malacañang is wishing the next administra­tion a smooth entry into power amid reports of bickering within the camp of incoming president Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte this early because of a lack of process in choosing the members of his Cabinet.

Presidenti­al Communicat­ions Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. yesterday said he had met with lawyer Salvador Panelo, Duterte’s incoming spokesman, to discuss the turnover of the PCOO to him.

A spokesman for religious leader Apollo Quiboloy, a close friend and religious adviser of Duterte, said the pastor was being eased out of the incoming president’s core group and was disappoint­ed over the mayor’s choices for Cabinet.

Duterte’s campaign manager, Maribojoc, Bohol Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. and spokesman Peter Laviña were also reportedly planning to leave his camp because the mayor already “changed” after winning the presidenti­al election.

Evasco declined the offer of Duterte to be secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Coloma said they would like a smooth transition and would extend all the support needed by the incoming administra­tion to fulfill its duties.

According to Coloma, it will not be good for them to be part of the intrigues and speculatio­ns amid criticisms hurled against Duterte for his Cabinet choices.

Coloma said with regard to communicat­ions, it would be up to Panelo and his team to employ a strategy for the next administra­tion.

During a meeting on Friday outside of the Palace, Coloma said he discussed with Panelo the PCOO organizati­onal structure and major functions, staff complement and field operations, including in the regional and provincial offices.

Coloma said he had known Panelo for a long time and he also briefed him on presidenti­al events and media relations.

Panelo himself is facing opposition as incoming presidenti­al spokesman because he lawyered for the Ampatuans in the Maguindana­o massacre case.

Coloma said Panelo was already used to dealing with the media because of his job as a lawyer. –

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