Victor Rodriguez (File photo)

MANILA – Lawyer Victor Rodriguez will be stepping down as Executive Secretary (ES) and assume a new role as Presidential Chief of Staff (PCS).

Rodriguez made the announcement in a press statement sent to Palace reporters on Saturday.

“I have asked permission to step down as Executive Secretary,” he said. “To the Filipino people, I shall continue serving you and the country as the Presidential Chief of Staff.”

Rodriguez stepped down from his position as primus inter pares (first among equals) after getting Marcos’ permission, the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said in a separate statement.

The OPS said the candidates to replace Rodriguez are now “under the process of vetting by the Office of the President (OP).”

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has signed Administrative Order (AO) 1 which created the Office of the Presidential Chief of Staff (OPCOS) and placed under the OP's direct supervision.

“Rodriguez will immediately assume his new position as PCS. This, in effect, will leave vacant the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES),” the OPS said, adding that Rodriguez, as PCS, will have the rank and emoluments of a Cabinet secretary.

“The OPCOS shall have the primary function of supervising and ensuring the efficient and responsive day-to-day operational support to the Presidency to enable the President to focus on strategic national concerns,” the AO read.

The PCS will be assisted by a senior deputy chief of staff with the rank of Secretary and two deputy chiefs of staff with rank of Undersecretary, Assistant Secretaries, and such number of directorial and other administrative staff as he deems necessary and upon the approval of the President.

The immediate staff of the PCS will come from abolished agencies such as the Office of the Cabinet Secretary and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.

Functions

AO 1 states that the Office of the Executive Secretary shall continue its supervision, control and oversight function over all the agencies and offices under and attached to the OP pursuant to Executive Order 1 inked on June 30.

The AO also mandates the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) and the OPS to assist and support the PCS.

The OPCOS, serving as the coordination mechanism of the OP, will be in charge of the President’s security monitoring system which will provide regular situation reports to the President on a real-time basis.

The new office will supervise and coordinate closely with the PMS as the primary government agency directly responsible for providing substantive staff assistance in the Presidential exercise of overall management of the development process.

Rodriguez is directed to have close coordination with Presidential advisers and assistants whose outputs shall be submitted to the President through the OPCOS and copy furnished the ES.

Grateful

Rodriguez thanked President Marcos for his brief stint as Executive Secretary, often referred to as the “Little President.”

“I thank the President for his continuing trust and his sincere understanding of my decision,” he said. “There is nothing more rewarding than answering the call to serve the country, a rare privilege not extended to all but was given to me by the President, His Excellency Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr.”

Rodriguez said the work of an Executive Secretary is a “24/7 job with myriad topics expected to be attended to every day.”

“It demands a sense of urgency which essentially requires almost all of a public servant’s time to ensure that services are met and delivered. Equally valuable, however, is to witness firsthand your young family grow and evolve into how every parent would wish them to become and they most need me, too,” he said.

Rodriguez was Marcos’ long-time chief of staff and spokesperson before he was nominated as Executive Secretary in May. (PNA)