Presumptive president Bongbong Marcos is turning to four of his long-time friends and associates to serve to help him vet applicants to his Cabinet.
A Politiko Iskooper said the core members of Marcos’ Cabinet screening committee are former Davao del Norte congressman Anton F. Lagdameo Jr. former Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Benhur Abalos, and Abogados Philip Nazareno and Vic Rodriguez.
Lagdameo, 54, is a grandson of the late bilyonaryo Antonio S. Floirendo Sr. and a childhood friend of Marcos. The Wharton-bred Lagdameo, who is married to actress Dawn Zulueta, worked as an investment banker in New York and London before he returned to the Philippines in 1996 to run his family’s Anflo Management & Investment Corp. in Davao until 1996.
Abalos, who served for five terms as mayor of Mandaluyong City, is the son of former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos. Benhur and Marcos built a close friendship because their fathers were allies.
Like Benhur, Nazareno is a member of the Order of Utopia Fraternity of the Ateneo Law School. Marcos lived in the house of Nazareno in Hawaii after the Marcoses were kicked out of Malacañang in 1986.
Rodriguez, a graduate of University of Santo Tomas Law and the National University of Singapore, is president of the Quezon City Trial Lawyers League. He has been a long time abogado of Marcos and served as his spokesperson since he ran for vice president in 2016. He is also close to Marcos’ wife, Abogado Liza Aranera Marcos.
Iskooper said Marcos considered the four among his closest friends because they stayed with him through the lowest point in his life and he valued their advice.
After Abalos was named as Secretary of Interior and Local Government, the Iskooper said Lagdameo and Rodriguez could also have seats in the Marcos Cabinet.
With his immense lead in the presidential race, Marcos recently started the screening process for nominees for Cabinet posts and key government posts. He said the appointments will be based on a person’s competence and willingness to work with the administration. The political leanings of the prospective government official will not be taken into consideration, he added.
Marcos intends to “look at very carefully” his economic managers who will be “critical for the next several years due to the pandemic and economic crisis.”
An executive committee, he said, will be helping review the list of government appointees for his new administration.
So far, Marcos has chosen his running mate vice president-in-waiting Sara Duterte Carpio as the Secretary of the Department of Education. Former Metro Manila Development Authority chair Benhur Abalos has been selected as the Interior and Local Government Secretary in the Marcos Cabinet.
Rodriguez earlier bared some members of the transition team, including Lagdameo and Abalos. Partido Federal ng Pilipinas president and South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. and former Manila Rep. Naida Angping are also part of the team.