Harry Roque

Lawyer Harry Roque is back as presidential spokesman, replacing Salvador Panelo at the height of the Covid-19 menace.

Roque had accepted an offer from President Rodrigo Duterte to return to the administration, more than a year after resigning to run for Congress, Malacañan Palace said in a statement.

Plans to run for senator, however, were aborted after Roque failed to rise in the surveys.

Roque, who was a representative for the Kabayan party-list group before being named spokesman for the president in October 2017, will have the rank of a Cabinet secretary, Malacañang said.

Panelo will keep his post as chief presidential legal counsel.

A human rights lawyer prior to joining the Duterte government, Roque was a staunch defender of the president’s war on drugs, which has killed some 6,000 people. (PressONE.ph)