The Manila Times : Marcos inauguration to 'abide by tradition'

By Kristina Maralit and Francis Earl Cueto | The Manila Times

(UPDATE) PRESIDENT-ELECT Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has chosen to "abide by tradition" and will have Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo administer his oath of office at the end of the month, his spokesman said Friday.

The choice of Gesmundo to swear in Marcos was revealed by Vic Rodriguez, the incoming executive secretary, in a text message to DZBB.

Marcos' camp earlier said they have found the National Museum in Manila, which used to be the old Senate building, to be a "suitable venue" for the ceremony.

Former Manila congresswoman Naida Angping, the next Presidential Management Staff (PMS) head, said they have inspected the area and that "preparations are now in full swing" for the inauguration.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar previously said all state-owned media outlets are ready to cover the event.

Andanar has ordered the activation of teams from Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) for the coverage.

Other media outlets are awaiting feedback from the Presidential Security Group (PSG) whether or not they will be allowed to cover the event linesince strict Covid-19 health and safety protocols remain in effect.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has said the Presidential Transition Committee (PTC) which he heads has met with Rodriguez and that the turnover process is ongoing at the department level.

President Rodrigo Duterte last month issued Administrative Order 47 creating the PTC to assist the next administration during the transition process.

The members of the PTC include Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd, Budget and Management Undersecretary Tina Rose Canda, and National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Karl Chua.

Ahead of the inauguration, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has been placed on a nationwide full alert.

The alert was also raised in response to the recent bombings in Mindanao.

"After the recent bombing incidents, the alert level in PNP has been raised. Nationwide, we are on full alert to make sure that such incidents will not happen again," PNP spokesman Col. Jean Fajardo said at a briefing Friday.

On May 30, a bomb exploded in a bus terminal in Isabela City, Basilan, causing minor injuries to a security guard and a female storekeeper.

Thirty minutes earlier, an explosion rocked a fast-food store about 800 meters from the terminal. No one was hurt in the incident.

Fajardo also said that a suspect has been arrested in earlier bombing incidents in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, and Koronadal, South Cotabato.

The suspect, who was arrested on June 1, "is included in the group of individuals whom we believe is responsible for the bombings," he said.

"We have a good lead on the other suspects as seen by images captured via CCTV," Fajardo added.

She said the PNP has created a task force to take charge of security preparations for the inaugurations of Marcos and Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Duterte-Carpio will be inaugurated in Davao City.

Fajardo said the PNP had been in constant communication with the transition team of the incoming administration to ensure that the inauguration will be "smooth" amid the looming protests and recent bomb attacks in Mindanao.

She said the police have not detected any security threat as far as the two inaugurations are concerned, despite the incidents in Isabela City and Sultan Kudarat.

But the PNP is in constant coordination with intelligence agencies and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in securing the two events, Fajardo said.

"Nonetheless, we are not complacent and we continuously conduct intelligence monitoring and gathering to ensure that we would not be caught off guard by any eventuality that could disrupt the inauguration of the top two officials of our country," she said.

Fajardo told group planning protest rallies that "we respect your right to voice your concerns but make sure that it is within the bounds of the law and you are in a proper forum when you conduct your protests."

BGen. Roderick Augustus Alba, chief of the PNP-Public Information Office, said the PNP is ready to assist the PSG in providing security during the two events through the Police Security and Protection Group.