Imee Marcos appoints herself Bongbong's SAP: 'Super Ate ng Pangulo'

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Vice Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr (L) talks to his sister, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos during a political rally in Manila, October 10, 2015. Election season is under way in the Philippines and investors are in for a wild ride of power-politics dominated by entrenched family dynasties, whose machinations will leave little room for serious debate on badly needed reforms. The wife, son, daughter and nephew of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos will all run in the May 2016 elections, joining a host of other privileged candidates from elite families seeking to keep their hold on power in local and national politics. Picture taken October 10, 2015. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Sen. Imee Marcos and her brother, incoming President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (Photo: Reuters/Erik De Castro)

Senator Imee Marcos hopes to make the government's job of legislation more efficient through her special relationship with president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who happens to be her brother.

She proclaimed herself SAP to the incoming president – as in "'Super Ate ng Pangulo" – although he Monday (May 30) appointed former Davao del Norte Rep. Anton Lagdameo Jr. as his Special Assistant to the President (SAP).

Marcos told the media as he announced the new appointment, "We’ve asked Cong. Anton Lagdameo to fill in that position. It’s very sensitive and very important in the sense that we have known each other, since he was a child... He knows me very well. He has been with us, working with me for the past 10 years. It should be an easy position for him to pick up."

Senator Imee had earlier told DZBB on Sunday that she would help Marcos establish a harmonious relationship with the legislative branch of government.

Imee said her role with regard to the Palace would be similar to that of Sen. Bong Go in relation to President Rodrigo Duterte. Go was a close aide of Duterte and was his special assistant before he was elected into the Senate in 2019.

"'Super Ate ng Pangulo,' I am the SAP, if President Duterte has SAP Bong Go, I’m the self-appointed SAP of Bongbong,” Imee said in English and Filipino.

Although there is already a Presidential Legislative Liaison Officer or PLLO, who facilitates communications and collaboration between the executive, the House of Representatives and the Senate, Imee said being a senator as well as an elder sister to the president would smoothen the process of introducing new legislation.

"Of course, a little whispering helps, so that we can speed up bills that are absolutely necessary and at the same time improve the measures," she said.

Imee wants to avoid inefficiency from the president having to veto proposed legislative measures.

"Hopefully, we avoid veto, it's a huge waste of time, enormous expense on the part of the national treasury, it's inefficient and costly," said the senator.

"All these things if clear in the LEDAC (Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council), for example, and discussed earlier, maybe we could do things faster and get better laws. We need to be agile for the next few months so that we can recover quickly, like fiscal consolidation, removal of budget excess, efficiency in tax collections, avoidance of another tax as workers are already struggling," she added.

Imee also said that a new Senate president has yet to be chosen, with four senators reportedly contesting for the position: Cynthia Villar, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Francis Escudero and Sherwin Gatchalian.

So far, none of the contenders have the 13-vote majority among the senators that they would need to succeed outgoing Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Imee hoped that the senators would reach a consensus quickly to establish a supermajority so that the Senate and Congress could get to the business of passing urgently needed laws as the country continues facing huge challenges with the pandemic and the economy.

"We are all committed to coming up with a supermajority, I said all the candidates need to talk to each other, and it seems clear that they have not yet generated 13. The magic 13 is not yet in place and I think there is a great deal of talking necessary," said the senator.

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