‘Marites’ on the loose? ExecSec junks quit rumor, extort yarn

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Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez on Friday denied reports that he had resigned from the Cabinet of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. due to alleged pressure within the “inner circle” of the administration.

Vic Rodriguez

He also denied allegations he was asking P100 million each from those who wanted to be part of the Marcos government, saying: “That amount is fantastic—demanded by whom?”

Asked whether the report was true, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz Angeles earlier said in a text message, “No.”

Rodriguez said he would only resign for health and family reasons but noted accepting a post in the Cabinet also meant that one might be asked to leave anytime.

“But until that happens then you stay, ‘di ba (right)?” he said, while also debunking rumors he was being eased out over his connections with an influential religious group.

The 48-year-old lawyer has been with Marcos’ camp since 2016 when the then-senator unsuccessfully sought the vice presidency.

Marcos’ longtime chief of staff and his spokesperson during the last election period said he was puzzled as to where the reports came from.

Speaking to Palace reporters, Rodriguez said he received messages asking him if the online reports about his supposed resignation were accurate.

“Even the messages I got this morning, essentially what they said I have resigned. But as you know, you made this courtesy call; I’m still here in my office,” he told the Malacañang Press Corps officers.

“I’m just here. I hardly ever leave my office. I don’t know how the rumor started,” he added.

“Thats’s why I said tinitingnan ko yung mga hitsura niyo kanina kung meron kayong parang nakakita kayo ng multo (I was looking at your faces, you look like you had seen a ghost),” the Executive Secretary said.

Rodriguez said he did not know how the rumors of his supposed resignation started but noted all the news and information that has spread throughout social media and posted on some news agencies “are all lies and hearsay.”

“I don’t know how the rumor started but all of us in the Cabinet, regardless of the portfolio that we are holding or handling, I think it must be clear that the moment he or she accepts the nomination and the request coming from the President by the president to help him serve and run the country,” he said.

“Well, honestly, I have been reading those news—Sino nagsabi? (Who said?) We cannot be held to explain on something (which is) unverifiable or chismis lang dahil (hearsay only because) we don’t want to end up explaining something that need not be explained,” the Executive Secretary said.

“Ang dapat siguro magpaliwanang diyan, go to the source, sino ang nag post ‘nyan, ano ba ang sources mo, pakipalawanag mo nga (The one who must explain is the source. Who posted that? Who were your sources? Explain it.”

“If he or she or they can establish some degree of credibility or some degree of authenticity on what they have posted, then maybe that’s the time you can ask us to explain as well,” Rodriguez added.

The Executive Secretary, often referred to as the “Little President,” is mandated to “directly assist the President in the management of affairs of the government as well as to direct the operations of the Executive Office,” according to the Official Gazette.

The Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) is also considered “unique,” in the sense that it has both line and staff functions.

Its staff function pertains to its duties to the President, while its line function pertains to its management of the Office of the President and its attached agencies.

The OES is likewise tasked to perform other duties at the discretion of the President or as stated by law.