4 names floated for new press secretary

Names have been floated around as among the possible successors to erstwhile Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles who resigned last Monday due to “health reasons.”

Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez, lawyer Mike Toledo and former broadcaster Gilbert Remulla are considered among the frontrunners for the post left behind by Angeles.

A fourth contender in the alleged shortlist, filmmaker and staunch Marcos supporter Paul Soriano, has also been floated but the noted director said that he’s better off operating behind the scenes.

Chavez, quoting unnamed sources, on Wednesday bared he was “told a few days ago” by an “authorized person” that he is being considered for the job.

He, however, would “rather not reveal” who notified him.

“I’d rather not reveal that because I’m even surprised to be included in the list. There are more qualified, highly qualified (individuals) for that position,” he stressed.

The Transportation official said he “expressed no interest” in the said position but admitted that he is “thinking” and consulting his family about it.

“I’m a good soldier… I really don’t want to preempt (the President),” he said.

Nevertheless, Chavez said he believes that he can “be more of service to the country” if he will stay in the Transportation Department and be part of the completion of the railway projects, which he thinks will be the “legacy” of Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration.

Rail sector

“As I have mentioned, my concentration is the rail sector. I already said that I am not interested in the press office of Malacañang,” he told the media in Filipino.

“I am a presidential appointee. I asked the person to give me a chance to process the offer and at the same time, if there is a chance, discuss what can be done,” he added.

A broadcast journalist prior to his government stint, Chavez worked as a station manager of DZRH. He also served as the chief of staff of former Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.

Toledo, former press secretary to ex-President Joseph Estrada, is currently the Head of Government Relations and Public Affairs of the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, an investment holding firm.

According to the official website of MPIC, Toledo obtained his “Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of the Philippines.”

He earned his Master of Laws in Public International Law as a Chevening scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He had worked in several government offices such as the Government Service Insurance System, Manila International Airport Authority and National Food Authority, among others.

Remulla, meanwhile, works as a member of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation of the Marcos administration.

He is a former ABS-CBN reporter and was eventually elected as Cavite congressman from 2001 to 2007.

Remulla is the brother of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla and Cavite Governor Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla — all belong to the prominent clan in Cavite province, which delivered an overwhelming victory to the President during the 9 May 2022 elections.

He acquired his Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Communication from the University of the Philippines Diliman.

He later took up his Master of Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in International Media and Communications at Columbia University in New York City, USA.

Behind the scenes

In an interview, Soriano confirmed that he was sounded out for the position but that he feels “the position needs more qualified people to help the President.”

“I can be of better service behind the scenes working with the President’s media and communications team. I know my strengths, I know what I can give him,” said Soriano, who directed Marcos’ TV advertisements during the campaign period.

“I am better utilized in the background than be in front of the camera,” he added.

His wife, actress and TV host Toni Gonzaga, also actively campaigned for Marcos, from hosting and performing in his campaign rallies to featuring him in his online program.

The Soriano couple’s relationship with the Marcoses does not end there as Paul is the blood nephew of First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos.

Malacañang is currently in search of the next press secretary following Angeles’s resignation.

In a message to Daily Tribune, Angeles said she quit her post to address a health concern, which she refused to disclose.

Her resignation came days after rumors surfaced about her not being included in the list of Cabinet members whom the President would reappoint after they were bypassed by the Commission on Appointments.

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