Immediately assumes new role as presidential chief of staff
Victor Rodriguez is stepping down as Executive Secretary to assume a new role as Presidential Chief of Staff effective immediately, the lawyer and longtime aide to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced himself in a press statement sent to Palace reporters on Saturday.
“I have asked permission (from the President) to step down as Executive Secretary,” he said. “To the Filipino people, I shall continue serving you and the country as the Presidential Chief of Staff.”
His decision to quit his ES post—the “primus inter pares” or first among equals in the Cabinet—was also confirmed by Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles.
“We confirm reports that Atty. Vic Rodriguez has stepped down as Executive Secretary,” Angeles said in a separate statement.
As for his potential replacement, names have already surfaced on social media and online news outlets—with some even congratulating a former top magistrate who is reportedly Mr. Marcos’ pick—but the Palace has neither confirmed nor denied any of them.
Mr. Marcos is not expected to name his new Executive Secretary until he returns from New York, where he will speak at the 77th United Nations General Assembly, on Sept. 24, Palace sources said.
The Palace has not had a Presidential Chief of Staff since 2008 under the Arroyo administration, when veteran lawmaker Mike Defensor held the position.
Angeles said the Office of Executive Secretary will be vacant as “various personalities are being meticulously taken care of the Office of the President to see who will be the most qualified for the position.”
“There are names now being considered for the position of Executive Secretary, and these names are now under the process of vetting by the Office of the President,” she added.
With Rodriguez stepping down as Executive Secretary, he was appointed by the President as Presidential Chief of Staff (PCS), a new position created by Administrative Order No. 1, signed over the weekend by Mr. Marcos, the Palace press statement said.
The draft Special Order, which sought additional functions to what was already provided under AO No. 1, was disapproved by the President based on the recommendation of his Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, Juan Ponce Enrile.
The newly created Office of the Presidential Chief of Staff (OPCOS) will be under the direct supervision of the President.
“The OPCOS shall have the primary function of supervising and ensuring the efficient and responsive day-to-day operational support to the Presidency to enable the President to focus on strategic national concerns,” read A.O. No. 1, which took effect immediately.
Signed this week by the President, the Administrative Order provides for the PCS to have the rank and emoluments of a Cabinet secretary.
“The PCS will be assisted by a senior deputy chief of staff with the rank of secretary and two deputy chiefs of staff with rank of undersecretary, assistant secretaries and such number of directorial and other administrative staff as he deems necessary and upon the approval of the President,” read the A.O.
The immediate staff of the PCS will come from abolished agencies such as the Office of the Cabinet Secretary and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission. Rodriguez will immediately assume his new position as PCS.
Rodriguez thanked the President for his brief stint as Executive Secretary, often referred to as the “Little President.”
“I thank the President for his continuing trust and his sincere understanding of my decision,” he said. “There is nothing more rewarding than answering the call to serve the country, a rare privilege not extended to all but was given to me by the President, His Excellency Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr.”
Rodriguez said the work of an Executive Secretary is a “24/7 job with myriad topics expected to be attended to every day.”
“It demands a sense of urgency which essentially requires almost all of a public servant’s time to ensure that services are met and delivered. Equally valuable, however, is to witness firsthand your young family grow and evolve into how every parent would wish them to become and they most need me, too,” he said.
Rodriguez was Mr. Marcos’ long-time chief of staff and spokesperson before he was nominated as Executive Secretary in May.