Rodriguez dropped from Cabinet, 10 bypassed secretaries reappointed
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles and Commission on Audit Jose Calida have resigned from their posts—the latest movement among the key appointees of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Cruz-Angeles said she resigned “due to health reasons,” ending speculations that she will be leave the Palace after she was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments.
Calida resigned “for a number of reasons,” according to Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin.
House appropriations panel senior vice chairperson Rep. Stella Quimbo, the budget sponsor for COA’s proposed P13.16 billion budget for 2023, said during budget deliberations last week that Calida has been on medical leave since Sept. 1.
Bersamin also ended the confusion on whether his predecessor, Vic Rodriguez, has been appointed as presidential chief of staff.
Repeated queries on Administrative Order No. 1, which Cruz-Angeles earlier said revived the COS position, were unanswered, fanning rumors the President has let go fully of Rodriguez.
Bersamin said Rodriguez has not been reappointed to any position – despite the latter declaring last month that he was stepping down to serve as Mr. Marcos’ chief of staff.
Bersamin also clarified that there is no AO No. 1. “We don’t even talk about it,” he said.
The announcements came on the same day the President renewed the ad interim appointments of 10 out of 12 members of his Cabinet who failed to secure the nod of the Commission on Appointments (CA).
Based on a Facebook post by the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), Mr. Marcos administered the oath to Secretaries Benjamin Diokno (Finance), Arsenio Baliscan (Socioeconomic Planning), Manuel Bonoan (Public Works), Alfredo Pascual (Trade), Erwin Tulfo (Social Welfare), Jaime Bautista (Transportation), Renato Solidum Jr. (Science and Technology), Raphael Lotilla (Energy), Susan Ople (Migrant Workers), and Jose Rizalino Acuzar (Human Settlements).
Bersamin was also sworn in along with the group.
Angeles and Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy were among the Cabinet members whose ad interim appointments were also bypassed.
Malacañang has yet to issue a statement on Uy’s fate.
Uy is still in Romania leading the DICT contingent at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference in Bucharest.
As for Rodriguez, Bersamin said: “You know, we have to respect the privacy of the former executive secretary. He’s entitled to it, and to be fair to him as well as to the President, let us not belabor that issue because the decision has been made.”
“I was appointed Executive Secretary. I was sworn into office and that should put that matter to rest,” Bersamin added.
Rodriguez was the chief of staff and campaign spokesman for Mr. Marcos before he was catapulted to the presidency with his landslide victory in the May 9 elections.