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Climate and Environment

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SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

What a way to go!

Vic Rodriguez has left Malacañang Palace “and is out as ES and COS and everything else,” said a Palace source.

“ES,” of course, refers to the office of the Executive Secretary, which Rodriguez held for three months, starting when his boss took over as president on June 30.

“COS” is Chief of Staff which, Palace insiders say, Rodriguez wanted to keep after he was told that former Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin would be appointed as executive secretary.

The position of Chief of Staff, had it been approved, would have clothed Rodriguez with more powers than the executive secretary. Chief Presidential Legal Adviser Juan Ponce Enrile thumbed the position down.

“CJ (referring to Bersamin) is now holding office in Vic’s former office. Vic is now at home and without a single PSG with him,” said the Palace source.

In short, even Rodriguez’s bodyguards from the Presidential Security Group have been taken away from him.

“I hope this is really the end of this never-ending saga,” said the source.

With Rodriguez out, presidential spokesperson Trixie Cruz-Angeles is not far behind, according to another Palace source, confirming what this columnist posted on his Facebook account.

Here’s that now controversial (because flippant) entry on my Facebook account:

“The incoming press secretary and spokesman is a lady’s man, lawyer Mike Toledo.

“Toledo, a graduate of UP (University of the Philippines) Law and Master of Laws in London School of Economics, is a balikbayan (returnee).

“Some lady reporters swooned over Mike – secretly, of course – when he was president Erap’s spokesman.

“Like Teddyboy Locsin’s during the time of president Cory Aquino, Mike’s face was described as ‘makalaglag panty’ (one that makes women swoon – RTT).

“Presidential spokespersons should be suave and good-looking, like Teddyboy and Mike, in this age of television when appearances matter.

“TV cameras are cruel and unforgiving as even a slight twitch of one’s face is noticed by viewers.”

That Facebook entry about Mike Toledo was based on what a little bird in the Palace told me.

My report stirred a hornet’s nest in the Palace, according to my source.

My source said Trixie Cruz-Angeles, apparently reacting to my report, called a meeting with the personnel of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS).

She told OPS personnel that with the help of people from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and National Security Council, she had “traced the source of propaganda against her that she would be replaced by Mike Toledo,” said my source.

(Imagine using the NICA and NSC for her personal ends. – RTT)

She named the source of the “propaganda” as ??? (I’m not mentioning the name of the person Trixie suspected of feeding me the information, but she’s wrong).

Trixie said the propaganda was an extension of the efforts to remove ES Vic, and that she was going to be the next target, the Palace insider said.

Trixie told OPS personnel that she had made President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. aware of the propaganda against her and that the President’s instructions to her were to push back, but not allow any backlash on the First Family.

She appealed to OPS personnel to rally behind her because “an attack on the Secretary is an attack on us all.”

Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo Jr. was told about Trixie’s meeting with OPS personnel, said my little bird (I mean spy, not something else).

My Palace source quoted Cruz-Angeles telling a subordinate on social media: “We have traced the source of propaganda online. We have to protect our end and it would be at cost that I need you to prepare. Estimated 2.5M for socmed [social media] and trad [traditional media]. I am working w/NICA [National Intelligence Coordinating Agency] now to know more. I can also use their funds if makakatipid (if we could save).”

If she was quoted right, this woman, Trixie Cruz-Angeles, has no scruples using the NICA and its intelligence fund to ferret out the source of my report that she would be replaced.

It speaks volumes about the integrity of some people chosen to hold responsible positions in BBM’s months-long administration.

The sooner these undesirable elements are identified and kicked out, the better for the country.

*      *      *

I chanced upon House Minority Leader Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan, former immigration commissioner, Thursday in a restaurant in Quezon City.

The two of us recalled a past experience that made Libanan’s stay at the Bureau of Immigration very colorful.

Libanan stood pat on his decision to deport Fouzi Ali Hussein Bondagjy, a suspected terrorist, despite a strong protest from the Saudi Arabian embassy.

I had pointed out to Libanan that Bondagjy was a terrorist, based on an intelligence report from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

Apparently, NICA had failed to inform him that Bondagjy was a friend of Osama bin Laden.

Bondagjy’s estranged Filipino wife, a former beauty queen, told me that the world’s No. 1 terrorist had had dinner with her and her husband in a high-class condominium in Makati.

I coordinated with a member of NICA who verified that Bondagjy indeed was in their list of undesirable aliens.

Bondagjy didn’t take my report in my column in another broadsheet sitting down. He filed several libel cases against me. The courts dismissed the libel cases after I presented documents coming from NICA.

The moral of the story is: There should be close coordination between the immigration bureau and intelligence agencies, when it comes to people entering our country.

VIC RODRIGUEZ

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