Newly-appointed Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin 

MANILA – Newly-appointed Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin is trusted by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and well-qualified to take on the job, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said the President picked Bersamin, a former Chief Justice, primarily on a “trust basis”, but noted that his qualifications also match what he is looking for in an Executive Secretary.

“Sinasabi ng ating Pangulo (The President says), he is well-qualified to be the Executive Secretary having put in so many years in the Judiciary. He has the necessary legal background and the ability to deal with paperwork, plus he is trusted and well-qualified for this,” she said in a Palace press briefing.

Earlier, Cruz-Angeles announced that Bersamin took his oath before the President on Tuesday morning and attended the 9th Cabinet meeting right after being sworn in.

Bersamin served as chairperson of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) under the leadership of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

Before that, he was appointed as the 25th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) in 2018.

He was appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as an SC Associate Justice in 2009.

His career in the Judiciary has spanned over three decades from the time he was appointed judge at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court by former President Cory Aquino on Nov. 5, 1986.

Bersamin replaced resigned Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez who is currently serving as Presidential Chief of Staff (PCS), a new position created by Administrative Order (AO) No. 1.

Cruz-Angeles announced that Rodriguez had stepped down as Executive Secretary on Sept. 17.

Rodriguez, however, will still enjoy the rank of a Cabinet member.

As Executive Secretary, Bersamin is considered the highest-ranking official of the Office of the President, being referred to as the ”Little President.”

He has the mandate to “directly assist the President in the management of affairs of the government as well as to direct the operations of the Executive Office”, according to the Official Gazette.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez, as PCS, will have the primary function of supervising and ensuring efficient and responsive day-to-day operational support to the Presidency.

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. (PNA)