As the public awaits the announcement as to who would the next press secretary be, Malacañang confirmed that Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairperson Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil is now the officer-in-charge (OIC) of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS).
Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin said this a day after President Marcos said that the shortlist for the next press secretary is now down to three people.
In a text message, Bersamin said “yes” when asked if Garafil resigned from her post and will be an undersecretary at the OPS and serve as its OIC, while Marcos has yet to name the new press secretary.
In a statement, Garafil said she resigned from her post on Friday, October 7, after accepting the offer to help the OPS as its Undersecretary and OIC.
“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 said.
The press secretary post has been vacant since Tuesday, October 5, following the resignation of lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles supposedly due to health reasons.
Angeles was one of the officials that the Commission on Appointments (CA) bypassed last week. This came after Bersamin was appointed as the new executive secretary, replacing long-time Marcos ally Vic Rodriguez.
On October 6, Marcos said they would be naming the next press secretary “early next week” after revealing that they had narrowed the list to three people.
While he refused to identify the people on the list, he said that the next press secretary should be a “friend of the media,” preferably a journalist or a media practitioner who can effectively deliver the government’s message to the public.
“Yung kaibigan ninyo (They should be your friend),” he said.
“You need somebody who is very experienced in the… probably a journalist or a media practitioner. Yun naman ang kailangan (That’s what we need),” he added.
Reports surfaced that Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) head of Government Relations Mike Toledo, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) director Gilbert Remulla, and director Paul Soriano were being considered as Angeles’ replacement as Press Secretary.
Chavez confirmed he was being considered for the post and was thinking about it. On the other hand, Toledo is open to returning as Press Secretary. Toledo served in the same position during the Estrada Administration.
Meanwhile, Soriano confirmed to ABS-CBN News that he was being considered but said he preferred to work behind the scenes. Remulla told GMA News Online that he was in the process of “deep discernment,” but he was concentrating on his role in PAGCOR.
Chavez, Toledo, Soriano, and Remulla all have media backgrounds.