Manila Bulletin : Marcos camps confirms takers for NEDA, DOLE, DMW posts as Cabinet takes shape

By Ellson Quismorio | Manila Bulletin

Lawyer Vic Rodriguez has confirmed on Monday afternoon, May 23 the addition of three more names in the incoming Cabinet of presumptive president Bongbong Marcos.

Accepting Marcos’s Cabinet post offers according to a statement from Rodriguez were Arsenio Balisacan, who agreed to become National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief; Bienvenido Laguesma, who agreed to become secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); and Susan “Toots” Ople, who gave her nod to the position of Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) secretary.

Rodriguez is the executive secretary of the incoming administration, a position that he agreed to accept only over the weekend.

Balisacan and Laguesma have formerly served secretaries of NEDA and DOLE, respectively.

Earlier Monday, Cavite 7th district Rep. Boying Remulla confirmed to House reporters that he has accepted the position of Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary.

On Monday afternoon, Marcos himself held a surprise press conference wherein he joked about Remulla preempting his announcement for the DOJ post.

“As you know he has a great many years of experience in government, number one. What many people do not know is he’s actually a very, very good lawyer. And so I think he will fit very nicely into the DOJ,” he said of Remulla.

As for Balisacan, Marcos called him an “old friend” with whom he has worked extensively before when he was still Ilocos Norte governor.

“I’ve asked him to return to NEDA…We have very similar thinking in that regard. Kaya’t malakas ang loob ko (That’s why my belief is strong). I know he is very competent,” he said of Balisacan.

Marcos said that ideally, the announcements regarding Cabinet positions should come after the president’s inauguration. However, he acknowledged how important it is for Filipinos to know such designations.

“We’re working very hard on the different departments. Dahan-dahan naman (Slowly but surely), we’re beginning to fill the positions [in the Cabinet]. We still have to talk to them, some of our proposed nominees,” Marcos said.

The presumptive president said it’s important for him to find out whether or not the nominees are on the same page with him in terms policies.

He asked his countrymen for “a few more days” before he could name the other members of his Cabinet, particularly those who will help him turn the economy around.