Rodriguez should cut cleanly

Rodriguez sounded like someone who can’t just let go. His last line that he’ll continue ‘serving’ as CoS of the President should elicit another question: But for how long?


September 18, 2022

What took him so long?

After unceasing buzz that he’s being let go by President Bongbong Marcos Jr. for a myriad of reasons that’s causing the government great embarrassment, lawyer Victor Rodriguez finally announced on Saturday that he’s stepping down as Executive Secretary.

Actually, it’s just sliding down for Rodriguez since, in his press statement, he remarked that he’s assuming the post of Presidential Chief of Staff. What?! Why can’t Rodriguez cut cleanly considering the scandalous role he played in the botched effort to illegally import 300,00 metric tons of sugar?

And how can Rodriguez even think of being the President’s CoS after no less than former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile exposed an effort not only to create the post of CoS through an Administrative Order, but also to imbue it with unimaginable powers through a Special Order?

Enrile’s not just a kibitzer in all this as he is the President’s legal adviser — his position should hold weight for the President and his administration. While the AO and SO were still drafts when Enrile rendered a legal opinion on them, it was very telling that the purported signatory would have been, who else, but Rodriguez.

Insofar as the AO and SO are concerned, it’s like being caught with your hand inside the cookie jar and, without any sense of delicadeza, you still proceed to get the cookies and munch on them, too.

The reason cited by Rodriguez in asking President Marcos Jr. “permission to step down” was also hardly coherent: That the 24/7 rigors of the Executive Secretary’s job have run smack against his desire to see his young family grow.

While the job of CoS should primarily be ministerial and should not in any way rise up to that of Executive Secretary, it is nonetheless a job that directly impacts on the efficiency of the work that the highest official of the land would also render to the people.

Rodriguez cannot be CoS and expect to have it easy as a glorified personal secretary for the President. The lawyer, who started his career in government as a barangay official, is better off finding a similarly less taxing and strenuous job.

Murmurs about the gaffes committed by Rodriguez have crescendoed in the past few weeks, but any man with a keen sense of propriety would have resigned immediately the moment Agriculture undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian revealed that it was Rodriguez who gave him the “authority” to sign for the President.

In his congressional testimonies, Sebastian intimated that they, at the Sugar Regulatory Administration, got the clear signal from Rodriguez that the President approves of the importation of 300,000 metric tons of the sweetener under Sugar Order 4.

Even if given the benefit of the doubt that no ulterior motives attended the signing of SO 4, it would have been more than enough for Rodriguez to resign right there and then. He should not have waited to be told that he’s become too heavy a burden even before the Marcos administration could get past its first 100 days.

As a final note on his resignation message, Rodriguez sounded like someone who can’t just let go. His last line that he’ll continue “serving” as CoS of the President should elicit another question: But for how long?

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