The Palace on Friday announced that the Office of the Press Secretary would be headed by lawyer Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil as officer-in-charge three days after its chief resigned.
Garafil said she quit as chairperson of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to take the job.
“I have accepted the offer to help in the Office of the Press Secretary as its undersecretary and OIC,” Garafil said.
“This is a great honor and privilege and I thank the President for this opportunity to once again work with him in his administration to serve the Filipino people,” she added.
The press secretary post has been vacant since Tuesday, Oct. 5, following the resignation of Trixie Cruz-Angeles, officially due to health reasons.
Angeles was one of the officials that the Commission on Appointments (CA) bypassed last week.
Former Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin was appointed as the new Executive Secretary, replacing Vic Rodriguez, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s long-time aide.
Garafil is a former journalist, director at the House of Representatives committee on rules, a prosecutor at the Department of Justice, and a state solicitor at the Office of the Solicitor General.
She was appointed to head the LTFRB in June.
President Marcos earlier said a new “media-friendly” press secretary would be named next week to replace Angeles.
Speculation on social media focused on several candidates for the job, including Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. director Gilbert Remulla, lawyer Michael Toledo, and filmmaker Paul Soriano.
Of the four, Toledo, Remulla and Chavez were former media practitioners. Remulla was a former reporter of ABS-CBN, Toledo was a former news anchor of TV5, while Chavez was a former station manager of dzRH.
Senior Deputy Speaker and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo congratulated Garafil on her latest appointment, saying that she is more than qualified to be the OIC of the Office of the Press Secretary.
“She has proven her competence in reporting and media handling many times when she worked under me. I am very happy for her and wish her the best of luck!” Arroyo said in a statement.
Garafil previously served as director handling media affairs during Arroyo’s stint as Speaker of the lower chamber. After that, she also
worked as director of the chamber’s committee on rules.