[Analytics] Who’s who: The Marcos Cabinet

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr addresses a crowd on July 1, 2019, in Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila, Philippines. Photo: AFP Forum via NurPhoto/Artur Widak. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., presumptive president-elect, may have won the 2022 national polls with a historic majority vote but investors and the public are jittery despite his mandate of more than 31 million votes.

Transitions between administrations are common and the Marcos team said they have been hard at work preparing for it by mapping out priority areas. Among those areas is picking competent members for Marcos’ economic team, which will be facing the most difficult task of reviving the economy.

“I continue to be guided by competence and willingness to work with the next admin, so we have removed immediately about their political leanings have been,” Marcos, who had been sparing in the details of his platform of governance, said on May 11.

The president-in-waiting has asked for a few more days to complete his Cabinet, but so far, the following have accepted their nominations (as of 25.05.2022).

National Economic and Development Agency: Arsenio Balisacan

Balicasan is returning to NEDA, the state’s socioeconomic planning agency, which he led during the admionistration of President Benigno Aquino III.

He was later the first chief of the country’s antitrust watchdog, the Philippine Competition Commission, under the Duterte administration. As he returns to NEDA, Balicasan will help Marcos steer the economy to recovery in the face of a large budget deficit, debt pile and high unemployment.

Department of Migrant Workers: Susan Ople

Ople is a known advocate for overseas workers, and previously served as Labor undersecretary. She founded founded the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, a non-governmental organization that assists OFWs by giving them training to to help them land better jobs abroad. She will be heading the newly created Department of Migrant Workers that consolidates agencies handling Overseas Filipino Worker concerns under one roof.

Department of Labor and Employment: Bienvendo Laguesma

Laguesma is one of the officials from the administration of the late President Benigno Aquino III — as SSS commissioner — who agreed to go back to public service. Laguesma will return to DOLE, where he held the chief post from 1998 to 2001. He will be handling the department as as unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is falling but remained at 2.87 million Filipinos who were either jobless or unemployed in March.

Department of Justice: Crispin “Boying” Remulla

Remulla won his re-election bid as a lawmaker of the seventh district of Cavite — where the Remullas are among the powerful political clans.

The family has a long storied history of supporting the Marcoses, and, in the 2022 polls, they delivered more than a million votes for the presumptive president-elect.

Remulla has accused supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo of links to communist rebels. He was also one of the congressmen who led the hearings that eventually killed the hopes for a new legislative franchise of ABS-CBN.

At the DOJ, he will sit on the committee investigating killings of activists and on the Anti-Terrorism Council that can designate and authorize the prolonged detention of people the government labels as terrorists.

Executive Secretary: Vic Rodriguez

Rodriguez is a lawyer by profession, but he is more known as the long-time spokesperson and chief of staff of Marcos. According to the Marcos campaign, he is the managing lawyer of Rodriguez & Partners Law Firm and is president of QC Trial Lawyers League.

As executive secretary —a position often referred to as “Little President” — he would be the chief alter-ego of Marcos. Under the Duterte administration, the executive secretary was usually designated as caretaker when the president was abroad.

Department of the Interior and Local Government: Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr.

Marcos campaign manager Abalos will lead the Department of the Interior and Local Government. Abalos formerly led the Metro Manila Development Authority during the height of the pandemic and was instrumental in urging unity among Metro Manila’s mayors.

As DILG chief, he will be tasked with assisting the president in exercising general supervision over local governments and overseeing the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

Department of Education: Sara Duterte-Carpio

Marcos’ running-mate, Davao City Mayor Duterte has more than a decade of experience in local governance under her belt.

She initially said she wanted to lead the Department of National Defense, if elected. But, in a surprise announcement on May 11, Marcos said the presumptive vice president-elect agreed to become the next Department of Education chief.

In this post, Duterte is expected to address poor teaching and learning conditions, insufficient instructional facilities worsened by the pandemic, and a strong call to strengthen the inculcation of the country’s history, including Martial Law, among young learners.

Source: The Philippine Star

Share it

Exclusive: Beyond the Covid-19 world's coverage