Revamping the Cabinet

Double Vision

Antonio V. Figueroa

Going by the grapevines that some media people use as sources, things point to an event in the coming June 2023 when President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., already battered by accusations for failing to steady the nation due to his failure to appoint Cabinet secretaries, may actually be planning a huge revamp. The names making the rounds of social media, in contrast to the news that ‘deep throats’ inside the Palace share, are more of a curiosity, especially that the platforms used in disseminating their supposed appointments are dubious.

In the list, eleven names have been mentioned, but only a few deserve serious consideration given their limited experience and track record, and some for their association with dishonesty. Except for Larry Gadon, a lawyer who occasionally acts weirdly, most of those who made it to proposed roster are familiar names. The registry, however, looks more like a trial balloon.


Months back, in one of our columns, we made a diagnosis that the failure of the President to appoint Cabinet secretaries is linked to the one-year ban in the Constitution, which restricts candidates in the May 2022 elections from being appointed. This observation can only be proved if some of the poll losers eventually make it to the presidential circle in June.

Let’s confine our discussion to only four profiles, namely Gilberto ‘Gibo’ Teodoro, Manuel Araneta ‘Mar’ Roxas III, Dr. Willie Ong, and Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso.

A bar topnotcher and former presidential timber, Gibo was supposedly offered the post of national defense during the Duterte administration but, for some reason, it did not materialize. Given his credential and brilliance, he was pushed into a senatorial bid that would have added luster to the upper chamber but the stars did not align with his candidacy.

Being a former defense secretary himself, Gibo’s likely return to the same portfolio is not farfetched. As Cabinet secretary, he brought professionalism, savvy, and innovation into the position. Installing a civilian as top gun in the defense department stymies the creeping invasion of generals in positions that belong to non-military-oriented guys.

Mar’s assumption as next agriculture secretary is possible given his Araneta bloodline, the same as the First Lady’s. But giving him a second Cabinet post has not been received well by critics. Even the Palace, after hearing of the overture of his entry, summarily shot down the news last March. But things can change if we go by the bromide that blood is thicker than water. Or that blood can cut through partisan lines in the name of ‘unity.’

Dr. Ong’s successive losses in his senatorial and vice-presidential bids have not diminished his popularity as a social media influencer with close to 20 million followers. Unassuming and simple, he looks more the urban counterpart of the late Sen. Juan Flavier whose rural influence as the doctor to the barrio remains a benchmark of sorts among medical practitioners.

Isko, a former Manila mayor, has been bruited around to head the social welfare and development department. The suggestion does not make sense because it was only months ago that Rex Gatchalian was appointed to the post. To accept the offer, Rex had to vacate his congressional seat. Removing him in favor of Isko is pure and simple political waste.

The other names floated around are Alex Lopez, who lost as Manila mayor bet, as executive secretary; Gadon, for presidential management service (PMS); Jonathan dela Cruz, a journalist, to the environment and natural resources (DENR); Herbert Bautista, recently charged for corruption, to transportation department (DOTr); ex-Sen. Gregorio Honasan, another Senate loser, to return to the information and technology department (DICT); Harry Roque, a former presidential mouthpiece, as chief of the presidential communications office (PCO); and Anna Mae Lamentillo, an undersecretary, to the public works and highways portfolio. (AVF)


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