More than two weeks after announcing his resignation as executive secretary, lawyer Victor Rodriguez backtracked on his statement that he would continue serving the country as presidential chief of staff.
Rodriguez posted a statement on Facebook on Oct. 5 confirming what his successor, Lucas Bersamin, told reporters the previous day that he was no longer part of the Marcos administration:
“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 … a very personal decision that was happily made.”
Source: Atty. Vic Rodriguez’s Facebook account, I confirm that I have…, Oct. 5, 2022
When Rodriguez announced on Sept. 17 that he had asked permission to step down as executive secretary, he said he would “continue serving [the people] and the country as the presidential chief of staff.”
On the same day, then press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles issued a statement confirming that while Rodriguez had resigned, he had been “appointed as presidential chief of staff.”
Cruz-Angeles said Rodriguez’s new position was created through Administrative Order (AO) No. 1 that Marcos “signed over the weekend.”
She said the Office of the Presidential Chief of Staff (OPCOS) would be under the direct supervision of the president and 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.”
“Kapag mayroon talaga niyan, mayroon na rin kayong kopya pero wala kayong nakikita so it’s up to you to deduce kung nagtatago kami o hindi,” Bersamin told reporters.
(If there is an existing document, you would have had a copy but you haven’t seen anything so it’s up to you to deduce if we are hiding something or not.)
He then asked reporters to not “belabor the issue” and respect Rodriguez’s privacy.
Last August, Rodriguez was embroiled in a controversy over an alleged unauthorized order for the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar by the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).
Cruz-Angeles said it was Rodriguez who “issued the order to create an importation plan,” but she later defended the former executive secretary and said he had nothing to do with the unauthorized sugar importation plan.
On Sept. 8, the Senate blue ribbon and the agriculture, food and agrarian reform committees cleared Rodriguez of any responsibility in the issue but recommended the filing of criminal and administrative complaints against four former SRA board members who signed the botched importation order.
The minority bloc in the Senate, however, submitted a separate report, disagreeing with the majority and saying that Rodriguez is “not entirely blameless” in the sugar fiasco.
“He is the primary person to protect the principal, protect the president. Nagkulang siya dahil lumalabas, hindi niya timely at kumpletong ini-inform si presidente sa progress nitong prosesong ito that led to Sugar Order No. 4,” Sen. Risa Hontiveros said in a press briefing on Sept. 13.
(He is the primary person to protect the principal, protect the president. He had shortcomings because it seems he did not completely inform the president on time about the progress of the process that led to [the issuance of] Sugar Order No. 4.)
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Atty. Vic Rodriguez’s Facebook page, I have asked permission…, Sept. 17, 2022
Atty. Vic Rodriguez’s Facebook page, I confirm that I have…, Oct. 5, 2022
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles’ Facebook page, Office of the Press Secretary…, Sept. 17, 2022
Lucas Bersamin denies the existence of Administrative Order no. 1
- ABS-CBN News, Bersamin denies admin order naming Vic Rodriguez as Marcos’ chief of staff, Oct. 4, 2022
- Inquirer.net, Vic Rodriguez no longer part of Bongbong Marcos admin, says new ES, Oct. 4, 2022
- CNN Philippines, Vic Rodriguez no longer part of Marcos Cabinet, says new ES, Oct. 4, 2022
Office of the Press Secretary, Press Briefing of Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles New Executive Building, Malacañang August 11, 2022, Aug. 11, 2022
Radyo Pilipinas, Radyo Pilipinas Live, Aug. 13, 2022
Senate of the Philippines official website, Committee Report No. 3 (19th Congress), Sept. 8, 2022
Senate of the Philippines Facebook page, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Sen. Risa Hontiveros Press Briefing | September 13, 2022, Sept. 13, 2022
(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)