“The Executive Secretary is the Little President. He signs executive orders and presidential papers ‘by the authority of the President’”
He says says he cannot say no to the President. He probably should at times say no to the chief executive of the land.
That is what makes close and trusted presidential advisers effective, especially when the boss’s better angels are taking a coffee break.
Lawyer Vic Rodriguez is the most senior Cabinet member. He is the first among equals, a primus inter pares among the best and the brightest men and women in the President’s official family.
He is the Little President. He signs executive orders and presidential papers “by the authority of the President.”
The Executive Secretary directly assists the President in managing government affairs and runs the operations of the executive office. It is a big office.
The previous ES had nine undersecretaries and as many assistant secretaries.
The office is tasked to perform various other duties upon the discretion of the President or as stated by law. The office routinely receives as many as 5,000 letters a day, for the attention of the President.
While the votes were still being tallied by the National Board of Canvassers, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. named Rodriguez as his Executive Secretary.
Previously, the dapper and perennially prim and proper with a calm demeanor Vic had served as BBM’s chief of staff and spokesman during the grueling campaign for the presidency.
He had also been BBM’s lawyer since the time the latter ran for vice president in 2016.
Rodriguez “has accepted the challenge and new task given to him.”
“It is an honor working with him, whom I have known for a very long time and I believe will serve the country efficiently and with unquestioned devotion,” he said.
“Sa sambayanang Pilipino, maglilingkod po ako ng buong husay, walang pag-iimbot at ng buong katapatan,” Rodriguez said in a statement. (“To the Filipino people, I will serve to the best of my ability, selflessly, and faithfully.”)
Rodriguez is a managing lawyer at Rodriguez & Partners Law Firm and president of Quezon City Trial Lawyers League. He served as Deputy General Counsel of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
He also dabbled in LGU politics. At 19, he became the country’s youngest barangay chairman, of Barangay Sacred Heart, bounded by Morato St., Timog and EDSA in Quezon City.
It was notorious as a honkytonk district with sleazy places like Metallica, Iwahig, Thunderdome, Hype, Club Giorgio and Chico’s.
As village chief, Vic was tough. He led a crusade and padlocked the places of vice and misplaced virtue.
Timog and Morato are now gentrified, booming fine dining places – for families and bachelors making a marriage proposal.
Says ES Rodriguez in a Manila Times interview: “The objective has been and always will be the faithful execution and performance of the mandate of the Office of the Executive Secretary. The plans would always be dependent on the policy of the President,” he said.
The focus, he says, is “to foster unity, harmony and coordination in all the agencies of the government for the Filipinos to benefit from after having come from the most recent divisive democratic activity of the country – the national elections.”
He adds: “We have been promoting unity since the proclamation by choosing competent and willing leaders to lead the different agencies in the Executive Department regardless of political color and affiliation.
“It is our goal to continuously adapt measures that will ensure coordination amongst government agencies with interrelated or correlated functions.”
Post-pandemic, Rodriguez sees the need to give reviving the economy “high priority and focus.”
Urgently, the policy directive is to implement ease of doing business and suitable cost-effective measures in the government projects and programs, including streamlining the bureaucracy.
Ah, Philippine bureaucracy. Even Hercules himself would balk at trying to streamline it.
Not Vic Rodriguez. He was not named Victor for nothing.