LTFRB’s Garafil tapped as Palace media OIC | Inquirer News

LTFRB’s Garafil tapped as Palace media OIC

Cheloy Garafil

Cheloy Garafil (Photo from LTFRB website)

Lawyer Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil is now officer in charge (OIC) of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin confirmed on Friday.

The transfer of Garafil from her post as chair of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) follows the resignation on Tuesday of Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles, who said she was quitting for “health reasons.”

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In a statement on Friday, Garafil said she had accepted an “offer to help” in the OPS.

“This is a great honor and privilege and I thank the President for this opportunity to once again work with him in his administration to serve the Filipino people,” said the 50-year-old lawyer.

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President Marcos had earlier said he would announce his new press secretary next week, adding that his next appointee should be “a friend of the media.”

“Obviously we need somebody who’s very experienced. Probably a journalist or is a media practitioner … so that the information we want to release will be really conveyed,” Mr. Marcos said at his news briefing on Thursday.

Journalist, lawyer

Before pursuing a career in public service, Garafil was a reporter for the newspaper Malaya, covering various beats such as the judiciary, the police, and the local governments.

She then worked for the (now-defunct) Philippine Daily Globe and the Central News Agency of Taiwan.

Garafil took up journalism at University of Santo Tomas (UST) but graduated with a communication arts degree. She later pursued law studies also at UST, then passed the bar in 2003.

In government, she served under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a prosecutor for the Department of Justice.

In March 2010, three months before the end of her presidency, Arroyo named Garafil state solicitor II under the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

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But Garafil and about 800 other appointees at that time were subsequently removed by Arroyo’s successor, Benigno Aquino III, when he issued Executive Order No. 2 on Aug. 4 that year, rescinding those appointments.

She questioned Aquino’s order before the Supreme Court, which upheld that directive five years later—in particular, a provision stating that “The following appointments [of Garafil and the others] … made on or after March 11, 2010, … where the appointee has accepted, or taken his oath, or assumed public office … shall be considered as midnight appointments.”

Other names

Garafil’s appointment to the OSG was dated March 5, 2010, but she took her oath on March 22 that year.

She continued to serve Arroyo during her speakership at the House of Representatives, acting as her public and media affairs director and also as service director for the House committee on rules.

Garafil will be succeeded in the LTFRB by board member Riza Marie Paches, who will also act as OIC, according to a special order by Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista.

Mr. Marcos had earlier considered at least three other media veterans as press secretary: former radio anchor and Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez, former broadcast journalist and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. board member Gilbert Remulla, and former TV host Mike Toledo who currently heads the government relations and public affairs department of Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

—WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH

READ: LTFRB chief resigns, accepts Office of Press Secretary OIC post

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