Duterte cancels press con, opts for one-on-one with Panelo

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 11) — Instead of a press conference, President Rodrigo Duterte will have a "tête-à-tête" with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sal Panelo on Tuesday, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque insisted that Malacañang did not cancel the press conference but only "modified" its format.

However, Duterte will speak in a one-on-one with Panelo where only state-run PTV-4 is allowed to cover. Roque said he's not sure if this will be aired live, and assured that questions from the media will be asked.

"I don't think anyone can complain because your questions were collected and will be asked," Roque told Palace reporters pressing him for an explanation as to why the press briefing was canceled.

He said the decision to modify the format was made by both Duterte and the Presidential Communications and Operations Office.

He said "there was a misunderstanding." He said he never mentioned it would be a press briefing, but also admitted the format was modified.

Roque on Monday said Duterte "wants to speak to the nation," without giving any possible topics, prompting speculations on what the President would talk about.

President Duterte's canceled press conference comes amid soaring inflation, falling economic growth, controversies over tax reforms, and the voiding of the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes.