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Angeles named Press Secretary; Carlos declines post

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Popular radio commentator and vlogger Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles will be the Press Secretary of incoming President Bongbong Marcos Jr., his chief-of-staff Vic Rodriguez disclosed on Wednesday.

In a statement released to the press, Rodriguez said Cruz-Angeles has accepted Marcos’ offer for her to lead the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

She will be tasked to oversee the PCOO operations, including the conduct of regular press briefings with the Malacañang Press Corps.

“I am grateful for the opportunity I am given to take part in the administration of President Bongbong Marcos as his Press Secretary. It is with humility that I accept the nomination and assume the responsibility of running the affairs of the PCOO,” Cruz-Angeles said, as quoted in the press release.

Outgoing Palace communications Secretary Martin Andanar welcomed her nomination as the next PCOO chief, saying she was no stranger to the office, having served as “chief social media” under the Duterte administration from July 2017 to 2018.

“Attorney Angeles is no stranger to PCOO having served the office during the early years of the Duterte administration. We wish Atty. Angeles all the best in her latest assignment,” Andanar said.

PCOO Undersecretary Kris Ablan also congratulated Cruz-Angeles’ nomination.

“We look forward to working for her and with her team,” Ablan wrote in a Twitter post.

At present, she is a radio host of the Karambola program over DWIZ along with suspended lawyer and Marcos’ staunchest ally, Larry Gadon.

She also maintains a vlog named “Luminous by Trixie Cruz-Angeles & Ahmed Paglinawan,” which at present has almost half a million followers.

Cruz-Angeles has previously worked as a social media consultant for the PCOO under the Duterte administration from July 2017 to 2018.

A lawyer by profession, she has represented clients in controversial cases like Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) minister Lowell Menorca II, and former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon. She also served as a legal counsel for the late Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial in 2012.

She is the former publisher of Politiko, an online news website, and a former columnist at the Inquirer.

In the past, she served as a commissioner for Cultural Heritage of the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts and former spokesperson of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

She finished her law degree at the University of the Philippines in 1997 and is taking an International Relations degree at the University of Minnesota in the US as well as an MA in Archaeology, also in UP.

In 2016, Cruz-Angeles was suspended for three years by the Supreme Court over a complaint filed against her by a client in 2003.

Marcos’ camp has earlier expressed that they are open to accommodating vloggers in Malacañang activities.

Vloggers played a huge part in Marcos’ presidential campaign. They were given their own accreditation IDs and enjoyed fewer restrictions than the media practitioners.

Carlos says no

Meanwhile, retired University of the Philippines professor Clarita Carlos said she declined the incoming administration’s offer for a government post since it was not related to foreign affairs, which she considers her expertise.

Carlos told the Daily Tribune’s morning program Gising Na! that she was chosen to lead a government post which she refused to disclose.

“No, they haven’t,” she said when asked if she was asked to lead the foreign affairs department. “But they offered me a different position weeks ago which I declined. Let’s not elaborate on that because it was confidential.”

The scholar and longtime educator said she would have accepted the offer to be part of the Marcos administration if she were appointed to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“I didn’t accept the offer to me several weeks ago because I don’t want to be part of something which is not my expertise. You asked if I will accept a DFA post, why not? Because foreign policy and security are my research and expertise,” Carlos said.

“If I contribute, I want it in my area of research and expertise,” she added.

At press time, Marcos has yet to name his foreign affairs secretary.

Carlos is currently the executive director of policy research think tank StratSearch Foundation Inc.

She has been a consultant for the Local Government Development Foundation since 1993 and is president of the Center for Asia Pacific Studies.

Carlos also served as the President of the National Defense College of the Philippines and lectured at the National Defense University in the United States.

She was a Fulbright Visiting Fellow for Political Psychology at Cornell University and Senior Fulbright for Comparative Foreign Policy Analysis at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Right track

Carlos said the incoming administration appears to be on the right track in its foreign policy, noting that Marcos previously said that he wanted to “enhance” the Philippines’ relationship with China.

“Pay attention to the word ‘enhanced’ because it means online insofar as foreign policy is concerned. It means that if the Duterte administration was engaged with China, it would increase the country’s engagement with Beijing,” Carlos said.

“It is only right to balance the American interest, the Chinese interest, and those of Russia and India. His trajectory on foreign policy is on the right track,” she added.

Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte sought close ties with China when he assumed office in 2016 amid the West Philippine Sea dispute in exchange for loans for his big-ticket infrastructure projects, though he repeatedly asserted before the international community the country’s sovereignty and maritime rights.

Duterte’s critics have said that Beijing became more aggressive in the South China Sea under the administration’s independent foreign policy.

@tribunephl_mish @tribunephl_MJB

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