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Crooner wears different hats



When Presidential chief legal counsel and spokesman Salvador Panelo let his hair down during a recent visit to the Daily Tribune (DT), he made sure it would be memorable.

More often than not, Panelo bears a serious, no-nonsense front when delivering President Rodrigo Duterte’s messages for the nation or when pressed to react about the most burning issues.

But he does know when to be candid and poke fun at himself or those close to him — something people at the daily broadsheet found during his recent visit.

Apologetic for coming in late for his supposed 4 p.m. schedule, no thanks to Metro Manila’s horrendous traffic, “Spox” immediately wanted to buckle down to business.

After exchanging pleasantries with the editors, writers, and staff, Panelo noticed the newly set up DT music studio and that’s when the other side of President Rodrigo Duterte’s most trusted men in government came out.

Not ready he says
“You didn’t tell me I was going to sing. I’m not ready,” he joked. “But I brought my USB (flash drive).”

And he wasn’t kidding. After about an hour talking about politics and his life away from the Palace, Panelo enthusiastically belted out tunes — five, to be exact and with one of them his original composition — not minding he is already running late for his next appointment.

One particular song that turns him misty-eyed, he bared, is “Kahit Isang Saglit,” a Martin Nievera original he said he dedicates to his dearly departed son.

“No matter what mood I’m in, when I sing that, I end up in tears,” the fashion forward spokesman shared.

And true enough, his eyes were a wee bit watery after belting out the said piece, but he was quick to regain his compusure as requests for photo ops came one after another.

Indeed, although he believes he’s doing a good enough job of being the President’s mouthpiece, Panelo is at his best when expressing himself through music.

A sampling of Panelo’s singing prowess can be obtained through the Daily Tribune online website under the following links:
* A Very Precious Love by Salvador Panelo at

* From the Bottom of My Heart at