Ernie Abella

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Ernesto “Ernie” Corpus Abella publicly known as SPOX, was the first Spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte.

After fulfilling his mandate at Malacanang, he moved to the Department of Foreign Affairs as Undersecretary for Strategic Communications, representing the Philippines internationally at various diplomatic, democratic, cultural, political and religious fora; and in inter-agency and inter-branch activities of government.

He also served as Officer-in-Charge of the UNESCO National Commission (NATCOM) working closely with the Creative Bloc of Congress, efforts of toward promoting Philippine Creative Cities, and advancing UN peace efforts through Educational, Scientific and Cultural cooperation.

He learns from social media, vloggers, bloggers, young people, kids and those who take the opposite view.

Ernie has a wife, Joy and 2 kids who have birthed, 6 healthy children – with one on the way.

He is also a father figure, and a spiritual mentor and counselor to many ordinary men and women, along with many who have their own ministries.

A Builder of Institutions

  • He started as junior copywriter in Manila; & became Creative Director 5 years later
  • Taught at the Ateneo de Davao Humanities & Communication Arts Dept
  • He started and was pastor of a successful church for 18 years
  • Founder/president of an innovative secondary school & for 20 years
  • Founder/chair of a thriving credit cooperative for 18 years Sent missionaries to Southeast Asia and East Asia

Understands & Appreciates both Formal & Self-Education

  • Graduated pre-medicine from Ateneo de Davao
  • Studied at the Graduate Schools of both English and Communication Arts Department of Ateneo de Manila
  • Finished his Master in Divinity, Silliman University
  • Earned his Master in Entrepreneurship (Social Development) Asian Institute of Management (A.I.M.)

Ernie Abella Profiles

Full Name: Ernesto Corpus Abella
Birthdate: July 11, 1949 (Age 74)
Birthplace: Davao City, Davao
Residence: Davao City, Philippines / Tagaytay, Cavite, Philippines
Languages Spoken: Filipino, English


Ernie Abella finished high school at Ateneo de Davao University in 1964. In 1968, he graduated with a BA in pre-medicine from the same university. In 1980, he pursued his postgraduate studies at Silliman University where he graduated with a master’s degree in divinity in 1984. He also earned a master’s degree in social development from the Asian Institute of Management in 2005

  • B.A. in Pre-Medicine, Ateneo de Davao University, 196
  • Masters in Divinity, Siliman University, 1984
  • Masters in Social Development, Asian Institute of Management, 2005


Ernie Abella started his career in advertising. He served as Creative Director for Adformatix in Makati between 1975 and 1977. He then moved back to Davao to work as a columnist for Davao City newspaper San Pedro Express and as a professor at his alma mater Ateneo de Davao.

In 1990, he founded the Hope of Asia and the Christian charismatic group Jesus Fellowship, Inc. He was also a board member of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches and the Koinonia Theological Seminary. He became a preacher in Davao for several years until his abduction by ethnic bandits in 1996. In a meeting with media reporters following his appointment as Presidential Spokesperson, he narrated how then Davao city Mayor Rodrigo Duterte negotiated for his release within 24 hours. It was then when he started following Duterte and even actively campaigned for him in the last elections through his writings.

Ernie Abella returned to secular life in 2002 and pursued a career in agri-business. He served as chief executive officer of AZ Agri-Products and as Chief Operating Officer of F&P Agri-Inputs. He also established his own businesses: One Accord Credit Cooperative and Southpoint School in Davao City.

On October 27, 2017, Abella was replaced by Harry Roque, a representative of Kabayan party-list group as presidential spokesperson, citing personal reasons. Abella was subsequently appointed as Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research at the Department of Foreign Affairs on October 27, 2017, until he resigned on October 8, 2021, to file his candidacy for president of the Philippines

  • Undersecretary of Strategic Communications and Research, Department of Foreign Affairs (October 2017-October 8, 2021
  • Presidential spokesperson, Oct. 2016 to Oct. 2017
  • Founder, One ACCORD Credit Cooperative
  • Founder, Southpoint secondary school
  • Columnist, Sunstar Davao
  • CEO, F&P Agri-inputs, 2011 to 2013
  • CEO, AZ Agri-Products, 2004 to 2007
  • Columnist, San Pedro Express
  • Professor, Ateneo de Davao University

Major Accomplishments

Ernie Abella is a long-time friend and supporter of Duterte who negotiated his release from kidnappers in 1996 when he was Davao City mayor. After winning the presidency, Duterte appointed Ernie Abella as his spokesperson but replaced him after a year when he allegedly grew dissatisfied with his handling of issues faced by the administration.

Ernie Abella remained vocal in his support of the Duterte administration following his appointment in the Department of Foreign Affairs as an undersecretary.

  • Handled communications duties on behalf of the president – Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research, DFA, Oct. 2017 to Oct. 2021
  • Handled communications duties on behalf of the president – Presidential spokesperson, June 2016 to Oct. 2017

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