MANILA, Philippines – Cabinet Secretary Rene Jose Almendras said his position will not be in conflict with or diminish the duties of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) and the Office of the Executive Secretary.
“Cabinet Secretary is a staff position so it doesn’t conflict with any of the line positions. The line positions are very clear. PMS is very clear, the Office of the Executive Secretary — those are line functions. Cabinet Secretary is a staff function, it’s in a staff box po, so in an [organizational] chart [it is not] linear, [it is not] aligned,” Almendras told reporters after his swearing-in ceremony on Sunday, November 4.
Almendras said his position’s main role is to help the Cabinet streamline and coordinate work of different Cabinet portfolios.
“There is also such a thing as a Cabinet assistant system. This was started during the time of President (Cory) Aquino,” he said.
He said the Cabinet Secretary post will not take away any function from the PMS or the Executive Secretary.
“You will not see me. You will not even see me. We are a staff function. We completely disappear into the bureaucracy,” he said.
Almendras and his replacement at the Energy Department’s top post, Jericho Petilla, were sworn in by President Aquino at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2, just before the President departed for Laos Sunday morning, November 4.
Almendras was transferred to the Office of the President after a two-year stint at the helm of the Department of Energy (DOE).
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said President Aquino handpicked Petilla as Almendras’s replacement.
Petilla was serving his last and third consecutive term as Leyte governor prior to his appointment.
Malacañang has announced the Cabinet reshuffle in October, the last one for the year. – Rappler.com