By DAWN CECILIA PEÑA
with reports from Vianca Mulingtapang, Elyza Vinluan, Charisse Mayuga, Lizst Torres Abello
Illustrations by Max Santiago
“Wala na ba talagang iba?”
This is the question posed by Filipino farmers as Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is set to be inaugurated as president on Thursday, will also be assuming the cabinet position of the Department of Agriculture.
This, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said, seems unthinkable for a president-elect who supposedly won by 31 million votes yet could not find a person fit to lead the country’s agriculture sector.
“He has no track record whatsoever in agriculture to stand upon. In his many years as a legislator, he has not authored or co-authored any law beneficial to farmers,” the group said in an earlier statement.
The crisis in the agriculture sector coincides with the country’s “the worst economic collapse and revenue losses.”
With this, much is expected from government officials who will compose Marcos Jr.’s cabinet and are tasked with steering the nation to bounce back from the economic crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and policies of the Duterte administration.
Close to home
Victor ‘Vic’ Rodriguez, 48, is the long-time chief of staff of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. He worked as Marcos’s spokesperson during the campaign period and his lawyer in the disqualification cases lodged before the Commission on Elections. Rodriguez was the managing lawyer of the Rodriguez & Partners Law Firm. He is currently president of the Quezon City Trial Lawyers League. He also served as deputy general counsel of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Since 2008, Rodriguez worked as corporate secretary and corporate counsel of the Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corporation. He finished his law degree at the University of Sto. Tomas and served as treasurer of the school’s Law Alumni Foundation. He also studied at the National University of Singapore Negotiation and Influence Program for his Executive Education.
Anton Lagdameo was a three-term Davao del Norte lawmaker from 2007 to 2016. He hailed from a landed family based in Southern Mindanao. Lagdameo is the nephew of Antonio “Tony Boy” Floirendo Jr., a close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, and grandson of Antonio Floirendo Sr., also known as “Banana King” and an ally of Marcos’s late dictator father, Marcos Sr. His father Antonio M. Lagdameo, on the other hand, is the Philippine ambassador to the United Kingdom. Lagdameo studied at Wharton school, a business school at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the husband of actress and television host Dawn Zulueta.
Born in Solsona, Ilocos Norte, Arsenio Balisacan was an agriculture scholar at the Mariano Marcos State University in Batac Ilocos Norte where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1979. He was a student leader during Martial Law where he led demonstrations and protests. He finished his master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 1982. Three years later, he received his doctorate degree on economics from the University of Hawaii. In the late 1980s, Balisacan joined the University of the Philippines School of Economics where he was eventually appointed as economics professor in 1995 and later its dean in 2010. He is the current chairperson of the Philippine Competition Commission. Prior to this, he was appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III as the Philippine Socioeconomic Planning secretary from May 2012 to January 2016. Under Aquino, he also served as Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and chairman of the boards of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), Philippine Center for Economic Development (PCED), and the Public-Private Partnership Center. Balisacan briefly served as Agriculture undersecretary during the Arroyo administration where he was the country’s chief negotiator for agricultural affairs before the World Trade Organization.
Amenah Pangandaman is the outgoing assistant governor at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the incoming secretary at the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). She is also the chief of staff of outgoing BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno, who will be heading the Department of Finance under the Marcos administration. She had served as budget undersecretary during Diokno’s time as DBM Chief, and as group head of the Office of the Secretary. She had also served as chief of staff of former Senate President Edgardo Angara, and had worked with former Senate Finance Committee Chairperson and now returning Senator Loren Legarda. Pangandaman was primarily responsible for the preparation, implementation, and finalization of the proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA), which is then submitted for the deliberations of the executive and legislative branches of the government. She spearheaded “Green, Green, Green,” the government’s public open space development program launched in 2017 by the DBM, which was intended to give assistance to local government units (LGUs) in the development of public open spaces as part of Build, Build, Build program at the local level. Pangandaman was accused of engineering P75 billion worth of alleged insertions into the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in 2019, which was denied by the DBM as “without basis and are meant to discredit the good reputation of this administration’s DBM as one of the most transparent and credible institutions in the world.” The P75 billion worth of projects were later removed and the funds were realigned. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Economics at the Far Eastern University, and her Master’s degree in Development Economics at the University of the Philippines. She is currently pursuing her Executive Master’s degree in Public Administration at the London School of Economics.
Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of former president Rodrigo Duterte, is the outgoing mayor of Davao City before she was elected as the Vice President. She was consequently appointed as education secretary. Her brothers, Paolo and Sebastian Duterte were also elected as Congressman of Davao’s 1st Legislative District and Davao City Mayor, respectively. She is married to lawyer Manases Carpio, son of former Court of Appeals associate justice Agnes Carpio and Lucas Carpio Jr., the brother of former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and cousin of former Supreme Court Senior associate Justice Antonio Carpio. In 2008, Sara and her husband, along with Elijah Pepito, established a law office, “Carpio & Duterte Lawyers.” In her first term as mayor, former president Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino appointed Duterte-Carpio as chairperson of the Regional Development Council – Region XI and as chairman of the board of the Regional Development Committee-Mindanao Area Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority. During her second stint as mayor in 2016, Duterte-Carpio brought Davao City to the eighth spot in the Commission of Audit’s Top 10 Richest Cities in the Philippines as of December 2021 with accumulated total assets amounting to P23 billion. In her last State of the City Address, Duterte-Carpio outlined her accomplishments as City Mayor and highlighted that she allocated P46.706 million in the 2022 budget to cover the remaining loan balance to rid Davao City of any outstanding debts by the end of the first half of 2022. In July 2011, she assaulted Davao City Court Sheriff Abe Andres who refused her request to defer a demolition of houses for two hours. Andress took four blows in the left eye, the face, and the back. Duterte-Carpio is facing two disbarment complaints by lawyer Fernando Perito and the Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines (Scophil), which also filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for direct assault and grave misconduct.
Benjamin Diokno is the outgoing governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). He served as a cabinet member in three administrations — Budget Undersecretary from 1986 to 1991 under Corazon Aquino, Budget Secretary under Estrada presidency from 1998 to 2001, and budget secretary under the Duterte administration from 2016 to 2019. He also had a stint as Fiscal Adviser of the Philippine Senate, Chairman and CEO of the Philippine National Oil Company, and the Local Water Utilities Administration’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. Diokno advocates for electronic/digital payments and the Philippine ID System. His expertise and research contributions cover government structure and scope, tax policies and reforms, public expenditure management analysis, fiscal decentralization, national budget, and public debt, to name a few. The BSP Governor was involved in the controversial ?75-B alleged insertion in the budget of DPWH last 2019. Diokno was invited by the House of Representatives to appear and explain the anomalies in the national budget after Mark Villar, the DPWH Secretary, affirmed that Diokno was all behind the insertions. Also, the Budget Secretary refuted the allegations made by Rolando Andaya Jr., the senior house member, that he influenced the authorization of ?2.8 billion in infrastructural development in Casiguran and Sorsogon in 2018. Suarez was attempting to get Diokno to reveal that he allegedly used his position as budget head to obtain multiple road and flood control projects authorized in Casiguran and Sorsogon. However, Diokno refused to declare the existence of a conflict of interest on the infrastructure projects in Casiguran, Sorsogon. In 2020, the BSP Governor ranked first in the top 10 highest paid government officials having an income of ?19.79 million based on the reports made by the Commission on Audit.
Ivan John Enrile Uy is an information technology expert, particularly in the fields of computer forensics, cybercrime, e-commerce, electronic evidence, digital ethics. Uy was a legal management graduate from Ateneo De Manila University. He finished his law degree from the University of the Philippines and, under the prestigious Hubert H. Humphrey fellowship, he also studied at the University of Minnesota. He joined the Supreme Court as a legal researcher and later headed its management information system office. Under President Benigno S. Aquino III, he was appointed in the Commission on Information and Communications and Technology. He also served as the corporate secretary of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce. In 2016, he served as consultant for then Vice President Jejomar Binay who was running for president, where they raised the hash code controversy. He also worked as a source code reviewer for the Senate panel of the Joint Congressional Oversight (JCOC) on the automated election system in the last two elections.
Benjamin Abalos Jr., was President Rodrigo Duterte’s Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman before he resigned to serve as the national campaign manager of Marcos Jr.. A lawyer and a former mayor of Mandaluyong City, Abalos Jr. belongs to a political clain. His wife Menchie is the outgoing mayor of Mandaluyong while his father Abalos Sr., who recently won the mayoralty post, was implicated in the corruption allegations between the Philippine government and China’s ZTE Corporation during President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Under the younger Abalos, Mandaluyong was hailed as the “most business-friendly city in the Philippines” in year 2008 and year 2013 by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was also awarded as the 2001 Outstanding Mayor of the Philippines by then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Now the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary, Abalos Jr. previously served as representative of Mandaluyong in the Lower House during the 13th Congress.
Jose Faustino Jr. is the former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte. He was promoted as Army chief in February 2021, which former senator Panfilo Lacson countered, saying that he was short of three months to be qualified per a Philippine law. Faustino was later assigned to be the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff on Peace and Development. In June 2021, the military announced the creation of Joint Task Force Mindanao, which Faustino headed.
Manuel Bonoan, who hails from Ilocos Norte, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Miguel Corporation Tollways. He was the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) undersecretary for Visayas and Mindanao in 1998 and, for a few months, appointed as acting secretary by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Bonoan later became president of Ramon Ang’s Skyway O&M Corporation which manages the operations of tollways Skyway, NAIA Expressway, South Luzon Expressway, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, and Southern Tagalog Arterial Road. In an interview with One News’ The Chiefs, Bonoan said that he will continue Duterte’s Build Build Build program in the fastest possible time, and will look into high impact projects that can contribute immediately to economic recovery.
Erwin Tulfo is a news anchor and broadcaster and has worked on programs such as PTV’s Ulat Bayan, Tutok Tulfo, and T3: Kapatid Sagot Kita!, and Aksyon. He is the brother of the incoming senator Raffy Tulfo, also a broadcaster. He is the son of the late Ramon Tulfo, Sr. who was a member of Philippine Constabulary. His sister, Wanda Tulfo Teo, served as the Department of Tourism Secretary from 2016 to 2018. In 2019, he called former social welfare secretary Rolando Bautista crazy in his radio program. The Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council) of Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte declared Tulfo “persona non grata” for reportedly mocking Dapitan and its people at a press conference. Tulfo said he only needs six months to a year to provide immediate assistance to beneficiaries affected by disasters once he sits as secretary of the DSWD. He said he will be “on the ground.”
Outgoing Liloan, Cebu Mayor Christina Frasco has been appointed as Tourism secretary. by President Marcos. She is the daughter of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and wife of Cebu 5th Disrtrict Representative Duke Frasco. She also served as Sara Duterte’s spokesperson during her campaign for the vice presidential seat. During her term, the Municipality of Liloan earned an “Unqualified Opinion’ from the Commission on Audit on 2017, 2019, and 2020 – the highest finding bestowed post-audit. Frasco earned both her Legal Management and law degrees from the Ateneo de Manila University. She passed the bar in 2007 and teaches law at the University of San Carlos in Cebu.
Alfredo Pascual, 74, is the former president of the University of the Philippines from 2011 to 2017. He also served as the alumni regent of UP from 2009 to 2011. He is appointed as Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry by the 17th Philippine President, Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. Pascual worked with Megawide Construction and SM Investments Corporation as an independent director. He is also the current president of the Management Association of the Philippines. He also held advisory roles at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies and the World Health Organization and was a representing member of the Asian Development Bank at the World Panel on Financing Water Infrastructure from 2002 to 2003. Pascual is also a recepient of the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Awad, Civil Service Commission, Malacañan Palace in 2014, and honoris causas for Doctor of Science and Doctor of Pedagogy from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 2015, and Angeles University Foundation in 2012, respectively.
Jaime Bautista, a veteran airline executive and a certified public accountant, is the incoming secretary at the Department of Transportation. Bautista worked at the Philippine Airlines (PAL) for 25 years, where he served as vice president for finance from 1993 to 1994, chief finance officer from 1994 to 1999, executive vice president from 1999 to 2004, and president from 2004 to 2012 and from 2014. After his retirement, Bautista joined the boards of various corporations on mining, shipping, and real estate, to name a few. He is also a part of the board of the University of the East and the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Medical Memorial Center.
Atty. Rose Beatrix ‘Trixie’ Cruz-Angeles is the spokesperson and head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary. From 2017 to 2018, Angeles worked for PCOO as its social media strategist. Prior to her appointment to the PCOO, she was a former legal counsel of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and a former spokesperson for the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Angeles used to be vocal of the Marcos family’s atrocities, with a 2016 tweet where she was quoted saying, “Our deepest worry may be not his manufactured heroism, but that future generations will believe it.” In a press conference, she said people are entitled to change their minds. She was also legal counsel of various clients including expelled Iglesia Ni Cristo minister Lowell Menorca II and Oakwood mutineer and ex-Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon. She was also part of the legal team who represented former Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial in 2012. In 2016, Angeles was suspended by the Supreme Court for three years. As PCOO chief, Angeles said that she will prioritize pushing for the accreditation of vloggers and bloggers to be invited to some of the press briefings, especially those conducted by President Marcos Jr.
Clarita Carlos is a retired Political Science Professor from the University of the Philippines of 56 years. She was the former president of the National Defense College of the Philippines, where she was also the first female to hold the said position. She served as a consultant to several government agencies. She also heads the think tank Center for Political and Democratic Reform.
Former Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy director-general Ricardo de Leon will serve as the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) director general-designate. He finished his studies at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) as a member of 1971’s “Matatag” class. In 2004, he was selected as the head of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force under President Gloria Arroyo’s administration. A year later, he became the first non-Muslim and non-Mindanaoan president of Mindanao State University. He later worked as Centro Escolar University’s executive vice president. De Leon assisted the Marcos family aboard the United States Air Force when they fled out of the country, following the first EDSA People Power uprising. Amid controversies involving the NTF-ELCAC, De Leon said it is one of the government’s most successful anti-insurgency instruments.
Felipe Medalla was a cum laude graduate from De La Salle University (DLSU) with a Bachelor of Arts-Bachelor of Science in Commerce in Economics and Accounting. In 2016, he was designated by President Duterte as a member of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Monetary Board as a member. Medalla accepted the offer of the president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in May 2022. His term starts on July 1 and will last on July 2023, which is part of the unattended term of its outgoing governor Benjamin Diokno. In 1994, he was a member of the Presidential Task Force on Tax and Tariff Reforms. Under the Estrada Administration, Medalla served as secretary of Socioeconomic Planning and director-general of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) from 1998 to 2001.
Outgoing Justice secretary Menardo Guevarra has worked for both the Aquino and the Duterte administrations. During his stint at the Department of Justice (DOJ), he was known to have taken positions that were contrary to or not in sync with the official narrative of the government, including (though belated) red-tagging, saying that it is dangerous and can put lives in danger. Prior to his appointment to the DOJ, Guevarra was Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs at the Office of the President where he reviewed all legal matters, including enrolling congressional bills for presidential action and executive issuances on matters of general government administration. During the Aquino Administration, Guevarra was a member of the Philippine legal team who presented the Philippines’ arbitration case concerning the West Philippines Seat to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. Of late, Sen. Leila de Lima has expressed her frustration over Guevarra’s decision to continue the two drug-related cases filed against her. This despite two key witnesses recanting their statements. The Commission on Human Rights, for its part, also called out the justice department for leaving them out during the review of drug-related killings.
Lilia Guillermo was been designated as the incoming Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner. She was the Assistant Governor and Chief Information Officer of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas where she led the institution’s Information Technology Modernization Roadmap of 2018 to 2023. She was formerly the Deputy Commissioner of the BIR where she was Project Director of the Tax Computerization Project, the biggest I.T. project of the government. Similarly, she served under the Department of Budget and Management as Undersecretary where she managed and developed systems needed for the modernization of the Public Financial Management Program. From 2008 to 2010, she was a technical adviser in the Automated Election System (AES) for the 2010 National and Local Elections. In a television interview, Guillermo responded on the issue surrounding the Marcoses’ P203 billion tax liabilities and said that she will review the documents and in the event that she finds a need to collect tax, she will tell President Marcos to be a “role model.”
Jose Calida is the outgoing Solicitor General and the new chairman of the Commission on Audit (COA). He previously served under former president Gloria Arroyo’s administration as Undersecretary of Justice and as executive director of the Dangerous Drugs Board. He served as Solicitor General under the Duterte administration from June 2016 to June 2022. Under his leadership, the Office of the Solicitor General has been flagged by COA twice, once in 2018 and again in 2021. In 2018, the COA questioned the excessive travel and procurement expenses of the OSG which violated numerous government auditing codes. In its annual audit report, the COA said the the OSG spent more than P7 million on airplane tickets which were “not supported by complete documents,” and “some itinerants were allowed to reimburse their airplane ticket without the price quotation and abstract of quotations attached to the claim.” In addition, the OSG practiced small-value purchase or “shopping” during procurement without the approval of its Bids and Awards Committee, which cost the Commission more than P5.5 million for office supplies and equipment. Similarly, it spent more than P1.2 million for its local training expenses as these were held in hotels and restaurants instead of its office premises. In 2020, the COA once again red flagged transactions made by the OSG in its COVID-19 response. In its procurement of medical supplies amounting to more than P1.4 million, the Commission failed to submit required supporting documents which violates Section 4 of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. The OSG spent P962,698 for medical supplies and P525,290.30 for swab tests from the Natural Medical Aesthetics Management Co. Inc. While the OSG said it has complied with the submission of required documents, the COA still requested for them to submit a certification that proves that it “exerted all efforts to secure the most advantageous price to the government based on existing price data of the agency.” During his term in the OSG, Calida doubled his wealth as the highest-paid solicitor general. From a P36.9 million net worth in 2017, his assets ballooned to P73.4 million in 2021.
Marcos Jr. has yet to complete his list of cabinet secretaries but several of those identified have been found to be from the family’s bailiwick, the Ilocos region.
Arsenio Balisacan, the appointed Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) hails from Solsona town in Ilocos Norte. He was an Agriculture scholar at the Mariano Marcos State University in Batac, Ilocos Norte, where he led demonstrations and protests as a student leader during Martial Law.
During former president Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III’s term, Balisacan also served as Director-General of NEDA from May 2012 to January 2016.
Incoming Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III comes from a prominent political family in the province of Pangasinan. His grandfather, Conrado Estrella Sr., held the same cabinet position during Martial Law from 1971 to 1986.
In 1988, the first local election after the 1986 EDSA uprising, Estrella III’s uncle, Conrado Estrella Jr., was elected as representative of the 5th district, and the latter’s wife, Techie Estrella, as mayor of Villasis town in Pangasinan. Estrella III, at 26 years old, also won a seat in the House as representative of the 6th district.
Meanwhile, Manuel ‘Manny’ Bonoan, a native of Ilocos Norte, is set to take the helm of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Before his appointment, he led San Miguel Corporation Tollways as president and chief executive officer.
It is not Bonoan’s first venture into public office. In 1998, he was appointed as Undersecretary for Visayas and Mindanao in the same department under the presidency of Fidel Ramos. From February to July 2007, he was also the acting secretary of DPWH under the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
On the other hand, Maria Zenaida ‘Naida’ Angping will lead the Presidential Management Staff of the incoming president. She has relatives in Leyte, the home province of former first lady Imelda Marcos, and was a close aide of Imelda’s brother, the late Benjamin ‘Kokoy’ Romualdez, former governor of Leyte.
“At least for now,” no less than the president himself will head the Department of Agriculture. He plans to reorganize the department in a way that according to him ‘will make it ready for the next years to come”. Marcos Jr. was first elected as vice governor of Ilocos Norte in 1980. Three years later, he became the governor while his father was still president. Upon the return of the Marcos family in 1991, he was elected congressman of the province’s second district for two terms and later Ilocos Norte governor for three terms. He lost his first senatorial bid in 1995; he later won in 2010, for one term. Here he was implicated in the infamous pork barrel scam, with the Commission on Audit disapproving his “illegal and irregular” moves to channel P10 million to a livelihood project in Nakar town, Quezon province, through a foundation headed by pork barrel scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy. Other issues still haunting him is the Marcos family’s unpaid estate tax, amounting to P203 billion, and the human rights atrocities during his late dictator father’s rule, to name a few.
Conrado Estrella III, will be assuming the Agrarian Reform post – the same position that his grandfather, Conrado Estrella Sr., held during the administration of the late dictator Marcos Sr. Born to a political dynasty in the Ilocos region, he is the nephew of Conrado Estrella Jr. who served as the congressional representative for the 5th district, while his wife, Techie Estrella, was elected as the mayor of Villasis. His grandfather, Estrella Sr., served as the Governor of Pangasinan from 1954 to 1963. At the age of 26, he was one of the youngest elected representatives during the 8th Congress, representing a Pangasinan district from 1987 to 1995. He served as a lawmaker in the same district from 2001 to 2010. In 2013, he was elected as Abono Party-list representative, a party-list supposedly representing the marginalized sector in agriculture. Estrella III served as deputy speaker of the House of Representatives in the 18th Congress. In 2016, he was one of the party-list representatives criticized for only filing less than five bills during his three-year term in the House of Representatives. From 2019 to 2022, he served as the primary author of at least 90 bills during the 18th Congress, including proposals to “strengthen the resiliency of farmers against climate change,” enhance the financing system for farmers and fisherfolk, and develop “instructional gardening programs” in all elementary and secondary schools in the Philippines are among the laws he has presented in the previous three years. In 2015, Estrella III was implicated in the pork barrel scam, and reportedly received P45 million in kickbacks. He denied the allegations and claimed that his signature was forged.
Bienvenido Laguesma, 71, has served four presidents as part of the Department of Labor and Employment. He started his career under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. until the administration of former president Joseph Estrada, where he was labor secretary from 1998 to 2001. Laguesma, a lawyer, also served as Presidential Assistant from 1996 to 1998 to former president Fidel Ramos and was appointed as a commissioner at the Social Security System by former President Benigno S. Aquino III. In 2001, Laguesma was included in the list of SSS executives who were sued over graft allegations over the supposed unlawful investments of the agency amounting to P1.1 billion. Laguesma also served as the Director of Philex Mining Corporation, member of the Board of Directors of First Metro Investment Corporation and Charter Ping An Insurance Corporation. He was president of the Rotary Club of Manila from 2007-2008.
Overseas Filipino Worker advocate Susan “Toots” Ople is the first Secretary of the newly established Department of Migrant Workers. Ople is born on February 9, 1962, as the youngest of the seven children of former Labor Secretary and Senate President Blas Ople, who institutionalized the sending of Filipino workers abroad to ease the growing unemployment in the country back then. In 1985, Ople graduated from University of Santo Tomas with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Communication, and gained her MA in Public Administration at Harvard Kennedy School in 1999, where she became a recipient of the Josephine Vernon Award for Excellence in Communications and the 2010 Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Achievement Award. She served as labor undersecretary under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and chief of staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs. She is also a writer-columnist and a radio host for Bantay-OFW Radio Program, a public service radio program for distressed OFWs. She is the founder and president of The Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute (Ople Center), a non-profit organization named after his father, that assists Filipino migrant workers. In 2020, Ople revealed that she had been diagnosed and has been undergoing chemotherapy and PET scans for stage 2 brain cancer.
Naida Angping was part of President Marcos Jr.’s campaign team, particularly the campaign finances. Angping hails from Leyte, the home province of the president’s mother Imelda Marcos. She was also a known close ally of Imelda’s brother, late former governor of Leyte, Kokoy Romualdez. A three-termer congresswoman in Manila, Angping is married to a former Manila lawmaker and former chair of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Harry Angping.
Juan Ponce Enrile was the key implementor of the martial law rule of Marcos Sr. He was first assigned as finance undersecretary and later national defense secretary – the postion he held when Marcos Sr. declared martial law. The 1972 staged ambush of Enrile was cited by Marcos Sr. as among the pretext for the declaration of martial law. During the Marcos dictatorship, he issued arrest, search and seizure orders, which were used to arrest and detain activists. Enrile also presided over the military, which was fraught with human rights violations. Under President Corazon Aquino, he launched coup attempt dubbed as “God Save the Queen.” He was also accused of being the mastermind of the Olalia-Alay-ay slay. Enrile, however, was never charged of the murder cases. Enrile was among the senators charged over the pork barrel scam. He was later released on bail with the Supreme Court citing his old age and poor health.
Marcos Jr. also seemed to take note of his father’s then appointees during his dictatorship.
In addition to DAR’s Conrado Estrella III who is a grandson of the former Secretary and Minister of Agrarian Reform Conrado Estrella Sr., incoming Secretary of Migrant Workers, Susan ‘Toots’ Ople is the daughter of Blas Ople. The older Ople was Secretary of Labor from 1967 to 1971 and Minister of Labor from 1972 up until the fall of the Marcos regime in 1986.
Before her appointment as Migrant Workers Secretary, Toots served as Department of Labor and Employment undersecretary from 2004 to 2009, during the presidency of Macapagal-Arroyo. Before that, she served as chief of staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs when her father became its secretary from July 2002 to December 2003.
Lastly, Juan Ponce Enrile, Marcos Jr.’s pick as legal adviser, once notoriously served as Defense Minister during Martial Law. He is one of those who led the historic EDSA People Power uprising which toppled the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.
Similarly, appointed Social Welfare and Development Chief Erwin Tulfo is a scion of the late Colonel Ramon Tulfo Sr. who was a member of the Philippine Constabulary.
What this means for a Marcos presidency
In an interview with Bulatlat, Renato Reyes Jr. of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan described the cabinet members of Marcos Jr. as a “mixed bag” that is meant to please or appease the different sectors of the society.
For one, to please the business community, Reyes said that those who will make up the incoming administration “adhere to the neoliberal economic thinking and that they will continue the neoliberal economic policies from the past.”
“There are also populist appointments like Erwin Tulfo for DSWD. Perhaps they want to get the confidence of various factions of the ruling system and those of foreign big businesses. They want to assure the US, China, and the rest of the capitalist power that it is business as usual under Marcos Jr., he said.
Asked about the prospects under a Marcos presidency given those who will make up the cabinet posts, Reyes said that the theme is that it is not gunning for a big change.
He added, “the whole sense of Marcos Jr. running for the presidency is to redeem their name. He appointed people who are connected to the Marcoses in the past and this shows that the connection links remain and that they are the ones who do not believe the atrocities of the Marcoses. This is his way of rewarding people who have been loyal to them for the longest time.”
(RTS, JJE, RVO)