Marcos assigns veteran journalist Jose Torres Jr. as PIA chief

Photo curtesy of Malacanang

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has appointed journalist Jose “Joe” Torres Jr. as the new director general of the Philippine Information Agency, Malacañang announced on Tuesday.

This is after PIA Director-General Ramon Cualoping III confirmed that he had stepped down from the agency.

According to the Presidential Communications Office said Torres’ appointment was dated 19 May 2023.

Torres, a former chairman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, will have the rank of Director VI.

The PIA said Torres’ appointment would bring “a wealth of experience and expertise” in the agency.

The veteran journalist also thanked Marcos for his appointment.

“I am grateful to President Marcos for the opportunity and the privilege to serve the country in these trying times of misinformation and disinformation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cualoping explained in a social media post late Monday that he resigned on 4 April to give Communications Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil “a free hand to choose whom she sees best” to head the PIA.

“I will always be proud to have worked with much merit, service and excellence. With an unblemished record as a public servant sans the black propaganda waged by some individuals against my name,” Cualoping said.

“Integrity is what I will be carrying on as I enter a new phase in my professional life,” he added.

Although Cualoping did not provide specific information about the reported black propaganda, there were PIA employees who signed a petition last year, requesting for his removal from his position due to alleged instances of “abuse of power and authority.”

Cualoping, who served as the Presidential Communications Operations Office assistant secretary from 2016 to 2020, referred to the petition as a “demolition job,” as stated in a media report.

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