Rodríguez, Ángeles, Calida officially out of Marcos admin

Just before the new leadership reaches its 100th day, lawyers Victor Rodriguez, Jose Calida and Trixie Cruz Angeles are no longer part of the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., a Malacañang official confirmed on Tuesday.

In a courtesy call with the Malacañang Press Corps officers, newly-sworn Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin said the three Cabinet members have resigned their posts due to various reasons.

Contrary to earlier reports that Rodriguez was appointed as the Presidential Chief of Staff through Administrative Order No. 1 after he stepped down as ES, Bersamin denied that such an order has been issued.

“If that is true, the order should have surfaced. But up to now, there’s no order. We don’t even talk about it,” Bersamin said in Filipino of the purported AO no. 1.

As the former Chief Justice recognizes Rodriguez’s loyalty to the President, he stressed the former executive secretary’s right to privacy.

“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 kasi the decision has been made,” Bersamin said.

“I was appointed executive secretary. I was sworn in into office and that should put that matter to rest,” he added.

The 48-year-old Rodriguez had been Marcos’s long-time chief of staff and spokesperson and was credited for the smooth conduct of the latter’s presidential campaign.

He stepped down from the “Little President” post in September to supposedly spend more time with his family.

His resignation, however, came weeks after some senators argued that he should be held liable for the sugar importation controversy, which involves the unauthorized order to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar.

In the end, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against suspended Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian and three former executives of the Sugar Regulatory Authority.

Meanwhile, Angeles has resigned her position as Press Secretary due to medical reasons, she confirmed to Daily Tribune in a text message.

Angeles said she tendered her resignation on Tuesday morning, which will be “effective end of business hours today.”

When asked about her health condition, she said she is not experiencing any “serious” illness, but it “needs to be addressed.”

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Hubert Guevara, in a courtesy call with reporters, said the President has accepted Angeles’s resignation and wrote a “thank you note” to her.

“She has tendered her resignation today, so we shall proceed with the process of helping the office address her resignation today,” he said.

The President has yet to nominate a new press secretary as of press time.

Angeles’s resignation came amid speculations that she will be replaced by Mike Toledo, former President Joseph Estrada’s press secretary.

Prior to being nominated for the post by President Bongbong Marcos, Angeles, 57, was a popular radio commentator and a vlogger with almost half a million followers.

She has previously worked as a social media consultant for the now-defunct Presidential Communications Operations Office under the Duterte administration from July 2017 to 2018.

A lawyer by profession, she has represented clients in controversial cases like Iglesia Ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca II, and former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon. She also served as a legal counsel for the late Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial in 2012.

Calida, on the other hand, quit his post as chairperson of the Commission on Audit.

“He tendered his resignation for many reasons but it’s up to him to later explain to you or publish what were his reasons to you but we accepted that with regret and we commended him for his patriotism, for serving for a short while,” Bersamin said.

“There is no CoA chair yet. Many are still unaware that his resignation has been accepted,” he added.

Before being appointed to CoA, Calida served as solicitor general.

During his stint in the Office of the Solicitor General, CoA flagged his office over P10.774 million in excess honoraria and allowances to him and 14 other officials.

The CoA also questioned why OSG lawyers did not disclose the allowances they received.

Calida, 72, served as undersecretary of the Department of Justice during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2001 to 2004.

The Davao-born lawyer also served as executive director of the Dangerous Drugs Board in 2004.

10 Cabinet men reappointed

Earlier that day, the President administered the oath-taking of 10 reappointed Cabinet members.

The reappointed officials were Secretaries Benjamin Diokno (Finance), Arsenio Balisacan (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).

The Cabinet members had to be reappointed after the Commission on Appointments bypassed their ad interim appoints, citing “lack of material time.”

Bersamin clarified that Ivan John Uy has been reappointed as the Secretary of Information and Communications Technology by the President but was not just able to take his oath alongside other reappointed Cabinet members as he was currently abroad.

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