Duterte's spokesman goes on indefinite leave

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 8) — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has taken an indefinite leave of absence starting Monday.

"Please be advised that the Presidential Spokesperson will be on leave starting today, Monday, October 8," an official from the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) told Palace reporters.

The PCOO official said Roque will not join President Rodrigo Duterte in Bali for the ASEAN Leaders' Gathering this month, adding Roque will leave the country on Wednesday for a personal trip.

The President's special aide Bong Go said Duterte was unaware of Roque's leave. He said Roque will get to talk with Duterte when he attends the Cabinet meeting in Malacañang Palace on Monday afternoon.

On October 5, Roque hinted he was considering quitting after he was kept "in the dark" on the President's whereabouts.

Related: Roque mulls resigning after remarks about Duterte's health

He said he had no personal knowledge that Duterte was hospitalized and underwent a second colonoscopy on October 4. The next day, there were more contradicting statements regarding Duterte's schedule. Roque said Duterte was in Davao City on October 6, but Presidential aide Bong Go bared he was with Duterte and his family in Hong Kong.

Roque's leave also comes after Duterte discouraged him from pursuing a Senate bid, categorically saying he would not win. Roque took a leave on the week of filing of candidacy for the 2019 midterm elections.

Go confirmed Roque was offered the post of Press Secretary, but said he has not yet accepted or rejected Duterte's offer. Currently, there is no Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), but it may soon be revived by placing the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) under it. PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar has submitted the draft executive order on this matter to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

Related: Sotto wants PCOO under revived Office of Press Secretary