Xave Gregorio – Philstar.com
November 22, 2022 | 5:04pm
MANILA, Philippines — Disgruntled over several appointments to government allegedly made through the intervention of former Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez, the fringe party chaired by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expelled the erstwhile top Malacañang official who resigned in September.
Rodriguez announced his resignation as executive secretary after being dragged into controversy. He said he would take on the role of the president’s chief of staff — a post that did not exist at the time — but said in October that he was out of the Marcos administration.
Partido Federal ng Pilipinas kicked out Rodriguez earlier this month as member and executive vice president due to him being an “incompetent and notoriously undesirable public servant,” his supposed betrayal of the party and of Marcos’ trust and confidence, “abandonment, disloyalty and many other acts inimical to the party.”
“PFP’s ties with respondent must be cut off immediately like a gangrene to prevent his further poisoning of the PFP body politic. [Rodriguez] must perforce be expelled from the party straightaway for its own good,” the party’s executive committee said in a resolution dated November 11 but published in full by News5 on Tuesday.
Rodriguez’ expulsion from PFP stemmed from a complaint from party officials in the Bangsamoro region alleging that the “highly questionable” appointment of Christopher Pastarana as Philippine Ports Authority general manager was traced to the former executive secretary.
The complaint — which heavily relied on blogs by broadcaster Anthony Taberna and hyperpartisan social media personality RJ Nieto, or more popularly known as Thinking Pinoy — claimed that Pastrana is one of the owners of Archipelago Philippines Ferries Corp. which supposedly owes P132 million to the Department of Transportation.
No appointments for party members?
But the party’s executive committee took offense over more appointments, particularly as “no PFP member … was ever appointed” to any government position.
“There had been reports both among PFP members and non-members that [Rodriguez] treated with extreme discrimination and blocked all applications for appointment that PFP members submitted to his office,” the executive committee said in its 11-page resolution.
The panel said it was able to confirm these reports and added that “PFP members helplessly observed, mostly in silence and submission” as other people who were supposedly less qualified, corrupt or were supporters of former Vice President Leni Robredo got appointed instead of them.
“[Rodriguez,] as the Executive Vice President of the PFP was supposed to be our champion in the appointments process … Unfortunately, [he] put the PFP down,” the committee said.
“In truth, [Rodriguez] became PFP’s tormentor. Our names did not make the president’s ‘short list’ thanks to [him.] He is like a bad dream to PFP, and to others of us even a nightmare,” it added.
Aside from not getting its share of appointments, the party also took issue with the various controversies Rodriguez figured in, including his order vacating several positions in the executive department, his creation of a new office following his resignation as executive secretary and the botched importation of sugar without Marcos’ approval.
“[Rodriguez] started his tenure in government as Lancelot (the greatest Knight in King Arthur’s Round Table), accumulated vast powers and transfigured into Lucifer (the fallen angel of God) in less than three months,” the panel said.
The party was also rubbed the wrong way when its top leaders were supposedly not invited to Marcos’ first State of the Nation Address, while hyperpartisan vlogger Maharlika was.
“After assuming office as Executive Secretary, no communication to the PFP ever came from [Rodriguez,]” the committee said. “After he secured his holy grail, the position and high title of Executive Secretary or ‘Little President,’ now treated the party like a leper.”
‘PFP has self-respect’
Top officials of PFP, including Marcos, are part of the executive committee that ousted Rodriguez. The president did not take part in the process but also did not object, the panel said.
Replacing Rodriguez as PFP’s executive vice president is Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo, who until his appointment to the position served as the party’s national treasurer. Antonio Marfori replaces Lagdameo as national treasurer.
Supporters of former President Rodrigo Duterte advocating for a shift to a federal form of government formed PFP in 2018.
In the 2022 elections, it nominated Marcos as its standard-bearer who then became its chairperson.
PFP entered into an alliance with Lakas – Christian Muslim Democrats, Hugpong ng Pagbabago and Partido ng Masang Pilipino to support Marcos and his running mate, then Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
Despite having Marcos as its chairperson, PFP is still relatively small compared to other parties as it only has two members elected to Congress. The president’s party historically sees a surge in membership in the run-up to polls and soon after election victory.
In its resolution ousting Rodriguez, the party acknowledged its small size, saying: “The PFP … is bigger than any one member, no matter how important or exalted he feels he is. The PFP, no matter how small or unknown it is, has self-respect.”