PRESIDENT Ferdinand F. Marcos, Jr.’s long-time aide on Wednesday said he had completely left the government, saying he wanted to spend time with his family.
“I confirm that I have completely exited the administration of President Bongbong Marcos, after having spoken to him at length about my wish to spend most of my time with my family,” ex-Executive Secretary Victor D. Rodriguez said on Facebook. It was “a very personal decision that was happily made.”
He quit as executive secretary amid a sugar fiasco in which some senators blamed him for failing to communicate his boss’ import policy. Several agriculture officials resigned after the president vetoed a Sugar Regulatory Administration order to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar amid rising prices and tight supply.
His replacement, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on Tuesday said Mr. Rodriguez was no longer part of the Cabinet, adding that he wasn’t aware of a presidential order that made him presidential chief of staff.
Mr. Rodriguez earlier said he had resigned as executive secretary but would stay on as presidential chief of staff, a new position created through an administrative order supposedly signed by the president.
Mr. Marcos on Tuesday reappointed 10 Cabinet members whose nominations the Commission on Appointments bypassed last week.
The presidential palace later said Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles and Commission on Audit Chairman Jose C. Calida, who were not reappointed, have quit their jobs.
Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John E. Uy and Election Commissioner Nelson J. Celis also were not reappointed.
Mr. Marcos likely chose not to reappoint them given congressional resistance, said Francisco A. Magno, who teaches political science and development studies at De La Salle University.
“This reflects the loss of trust by the chief executive in their continued stay in office,” he said in a Facebook Messenger chat.
People get appointed to government positions because the president trusts them, Jean Encinas-Franco, a political science professor at the University of the Philippines, said in a Messenger chat. “Qualifications are secondary.”
She said factions among Cabinet members are expected.
“Malacañang is a snake pit,” Antonio Gabriel M. La Viña, former dean of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Government, said in a Messenger chat. “It always has been regardless of the administration. Only the fittest, brightest, smartest and the most hardworking survive.”
In his post, Mr. Rodriguez noted his “continued silence” on issues, adding that all communications between him and Mr. Marcos were “absolutely privileged, something which I shall continue to honor.”
“I have been ridiculed, maligned and subjected to baseless and unfair commentaries on all conceivable platforms, but I take solace in the legal aphorism ‘Men in public life may suffer under a hostile or unjust accusation; the wound can be assuaged with the balm of a clear conscience,’” he said. “I will continue serving as a private citizen as best as I can. Let us support President Bongbong Marcos and the Philippines,” he added in Filipino.
Senate President and Commission on Appointments Chairman Juan Miguel F. Zubiri last week said they failed to tackle the appointments of the 15 for lack of time.
Lawmakers went on a monthlong break on Oct. 1. — Norman P. Aquino and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza