No additional powers for the chief of staff of the Palace

(UPDATE) PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. rejected proposals to assign additional powers to the new Office of the Presidential Chief of Staff (Opcos), which will be headed by resigning Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez.

Press Secretary Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles said in a statement released last Saturday evening that, on the recommendation of Chief Presidential Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile, the President disapproved of a proposed special order giving additional duties to the chief of staff.

Publicist Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles PHOTO BY J. GERARD SEGUIA

Rodriguez resigned as executive secretary on Saturday over the sugar import imbroglio. He had the briefest stint as executive secretary after serving in the role for more than two months.

Among the functions of the chief of staff included in the draft executive order is the power to sign contracts and issue directives to various government agencies, functions that Rodriguez performs as executive secretary.

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Instead, the PCS will have “the primary function of overseeing and providing effective and responsive day-to-day operational support to the presidency to allow the president to focus on strategic national concerns,” Cruz-Angeles said.

“In a nutshell, the Opcos will serve as the coordination mechanism of the Office of the President. It will be in charge of the President’s security monitoring system, which will be responsible for providing regular situation reports to the President in real time. ,” she says.

“The Opcos will also supervise and coordinate closely with the PMS [Presidential Management Staff] as the principal government agency directly responsible for providing substantial personnel assistance in the presidential exercise of overall management of the development process,” she added.

Last week, Enrile released a five-page document objecting to SO’s draft provisions.

Provisions include authority to “sign and approve memoranda, administrative acts and deeds, contracts, and administrative and financial documents”; “implement the instructions for the effective and efficient operation of departments, agencies and offices” and “implement the policies and standards for the effective and efficient operation of the Office of the President and its attached agencies”.

According to the 98-year-old former Senate president, the powers overlap with the duties and functions of other offices under the executive branch, such as the office of the executive secretary, the PMS and the office of the special assistant to the President.

He also argued that, traditionally, the palace chief of staff does not have wide-ranging authority and “simply assists the president in routine day-to-day functions, including preparing briefers for meetings, organizing and the filing of documents and the organization of the President’s schedule”.

“There is no need to create a presidential chief of staff position, let alone grant him so much power,” Enrile said in his memorandum.

Cruz-Angeles said Rodriguez will coordinate closely with presidential advisers and aides, who in turn will forward their reports to the president through him, copies of which will be submitted to the next executive secretary.

Master Victor Rodriguez-Dilan (7)

Master Victor Rodriguez-Dilan (7)

In his resignation statement, Rodriguez cited his desire to spend more time with his family.

Days before his resignation, rumors swirled that Rodriguez, who was Marcos’ campaign manager in the last election, had a falling out with the president.

The Palace has yet to officially announce who will replace Rodriguez as executive secretary.

There were reports that retired Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin was being considered, but Cruz-Angeles or any other Malacañang official refused to confirm or deny them.

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