Executive Secretary as PGMA Alter ego.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Manila Bulletin, December 23, 2002 | Go to article overview
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Executive Secretary as PGMA Alter ego.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)


IF it was a change of policy in the handling of information on presidential decisions, the appearances over the weekend of Executive Secretary Alberto G. Romulo in the front pages in behalf of the President, could be signals of a new dynamism in the Executive Office.

On Saturday, he announced there would be no revamp in the Cabinet, and speaking for the President, he said Malacanang was satisfied with the performance of adminsitration officials.

The following day, he correted again earlier Palace assertion on "perpetual ban" from the government service of those found involved in the alleged overpricing of the construction of the Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard.

Romulo, who has a doctoral degree in law from abroad, said not the Palace but only the courts could impose such penalty.

***

The fact is that since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo assumed office the role of the Executive Secretary has been de-emphasized, giving the unmistakable misimpression that the office of the "Little President" has lost its legendary clout in national governance.

This does not mean in any way that the position has been diminished in importance or influence, but its prolonged absence in the public discussion of significant and critical issues involving the Office of the President makes its presence obscure and undefined.

The people, unaccustomed to such silence, naturally wonder whether the function of the Office of the Executive Secretary has been altered by the proliferation of other offices in Malacanang such as those of presidential assistants and advisers on multifarious sectoral concerns.

***

To be sure, the Executive Secretary's name is also mentioned in the news once in a while, but they are not the kind that reflects the true role of effective leadership within the Office of the President.

The Office of the Executive Secretary - or more to the point - the Executive Secretary performs a unique function in the scheme of things in any administration.

It is not for nothing that he is called "The Little President."

The position of Executive Secretary is unique because it does not exist in any arrangements of authority anywhere in the democracies.

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