MANILA, Philippines – Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is following in President Rodrigo Duterte’s footsteps by tapping a “Special Assistant to the President” or SAP.
The one-of-a-kind position has been given to his childhood friend, former Davao del Norte congressman Antonio “Anton” Lagdameo Jr.
Marcos announced this in a press conference with select media outfits on Thursday, May 26, a day after he was proclaimed president-elect.
Lagdameo served for three terms as Davao del Norte 2nd District congressman. Lagdameo’s father, Antonio M. Lagdameo, is currently serving as Philippine ambassador to the United Kingdom.
The incoming SAP is the nephew of Antonio “Tony Boy” Floirendo Jr., an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte. His grandfather, banana magnate Antonio Floirendo Sr., had been criticized as one of the cronies of the president-elect’s father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, during the latter’s martial rule.
Lagdameo had been a familiar face in Marcos’ presidential campaign and had also actively supported him in 2016, when he ran for vice president.
Before politics, Lagdameo was a businessman and studied at the prestigious Wharton School, a business school at the University of Pennsylvania. He is married to actress Dawn Zulueta.
Marcos’ ‘Bong Go’
By accepting the offer, Lagdameo will be assuming the position once occupied by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who first came to be known by the public as Duterte’s loyal aide since 1998.
Go was the first person to be given the title of “SAP.” In fact, the position was tailored for him.
President Duterte’s very first executive order created the SAP. The position has the rank of secretary which means access to Cabinet meetings.
The SAP oversees everything about the President – his activities, security, protocol, media, assigned to cover him.
Duterte’s EO No. 1 gave the SAP power to supervise the following key Malacañang agencies:
- Presidential Management Staff
- Presidential Security Group
- Office of the Chief Presidential Protocol
- Media Accreditation and Relations Office
- Radio TV Malacañang (RTVM)
It was basically a way to formalize everything Go had been doing for Duterte as his longtime aide in Davao City. Go was often described as the “gateway” to Duterte – the only way he could be reached, the only person who could arrange a meeting with the President. (READ: The man they call Bong Go)
It remains to be seen if Marcos will just use Duterte’s EO as basis for his SAP’s functions, or if he would amend the EO to reflect new tasks and powers for Lagdameo. – Rappler.com