Sara Duterte will be education secretary – Marcos Jr.

MANILA, Philippines, May 12 ------ Presumptive vice president Sara Duterte will be education secretary, presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on May 11.

“I have been authorized to announce the first nominee that we will be giving to the Commission on Appointments when the time comes, should I be proclaimed, and that is that the incoming vice president has agreed to take the brief of the Department of Education,” Marcos Jr. told media in a 7-minute statement. It was not clear whether Duterte asked for DepEd.

“Tinanong ko sa kanya kung kaya niya ‘yung trabaho dahil mahirap ang trabaho ng Secretary of Education, pero nag-agree naman siya, at palagay ko kasama na diyan dahil she is a mother,” said Marcos Jr. “She wants to make sure that the children are well-trained and well-educated and that is the best motivation that we can hope for,” he added.

Marcos Jr. said one of the priority appointments for the transition would be the economic team. “As I am sure you can imagine, the economic managers are going to be critical for the next several years because of the pandemic and the economic crisis, so that is something that we are looking at very carefully,” he said.

It was Marcos Jr. who first floated that Duterte wanted to be defense secretary, but the presumptive vice president said through her spokesperson that she has “not expressed preference for any Cabinet position.” “We fully recognize that the choosing of Cabinet positions is within the discretion of the President,” said Liloan, Cebu Mayor Cristina Frasco, Duterte’s spokesperson.

Marcos Jr. only began talking to his team about transition on May 11, saying that he is open to taking into his Cabinet people who belong to the opposite political fence. “I am keeping our ExeCom (executive committee), who ran the campaign, sila talaga mga adviser ko. We’re keeping the ExeCom going, they will be the core group. I’m thinking each department, we will have to talk to a specialist in that sector,” he said. Details of who his core people are have been sparse during the campaign but Marcos Jr. was always seen with former Davao del Norte Representative Anton Lagdameo. Former Abakada Representative Jonathan dela Cruz advised the campaign on energy. Vic Rodriguez was the spokesperson, and Benhur Abalos was the campaign manager.

Rodriguez has said transition talks are only just beginning because they did not “allow ourselves to look beyond May 9.” “Maraming nag-signify ng kanilang kahandaan na magsilbi at maglingkod sa ating gobyerno, sa ating bansa, sa pamunuan ni president-elect Bongbong, but again, we did not allow ourselves, especially president-elect Bongbong did not allow himself to look beyond May 9 because that is his character, that is his person, he is unassuming,” said Rodriguez.

He said that there has been no coordination yet with the outgoing administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. “Hindi pwedeng ikaw lang ang may transition team samantalang yung maglilipat ng mga alituntunin ng pamahalaan ay wala pa ring nabubuong team. Kung meron man, wala pa kamping pormal at official na pakikipag-ugnayan,” he said.

The business community has expressed some fears about investments dropping should Marcos Jr. win, and when his victory became apparent, there were different market reactions like investors selling off stocks in media. Marcos Jr. is averse to independent media, and on May 11, Rodriguez ignored some questions from the press. “It’s so difficult to be answering questions that are covered by too general assertion according to investors. I’m just being careful because remember we’re talking now about the economy and konting masabi mo lang ay gagalaw ang ekonomiya,” said Rodriguez.

Reports state on May 10, that global financial service JP Morgan dropped the Philippines to the bottom of its list of Southeast Asian nations to invest in. The report was given to clients on May 10. Marcos Jr.’s win became very apparent on May 9. “You’re getting it all wrong. The context is all wrong. They will come out with an explanation. Sorry to cut you short but JP Morgan did not mean it that way,” said Rodriguez.