Photo from PCO
WHEN news broke out that finally, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has named a full-time Press Secretary in the person of lawyer-journalist Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil, I believe everyone in the country’s Fourth Estate felt proud as she is undoubtedly “one of the boys.”
I can only imagine Eric Garafil, my fellow “Q”, grinning from ear to ear.
“Q” is The Quezonian, the official student publication of Manuel L. Quezon University (MLQU) in the historic Quiapo district in Manila that first honed the writing skills, if we may call it, of Eric and me.
Well, Cheloy who graduated from the more prestigious University of Santo Tomas (UST), was apparently enamored by Eric, a certified Batang Quiapo.
It is really a plus factor to have someone at the helm of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) who knows the “the terrain” of effective mass communication like the back of his or her hand.
Cheloy worked as a journalist for over a decade.
She was a reporter for Malaya broadsheet, covering the police beat, local governments, and the judiciary.
That makes me proud because I was also a Malaya reporter in 1985 covering the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Cheloy also once worked for the now-defunct Philippine Daily Globe and the Central News Agency of Taiwan.
Later, she served as the media officer of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Her task is very crucial because the PCO, formerly known as the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), will be primarily responsible for crafting, formulating, developing, enhancing, and coordinating the messaging system of the Executive branch and the Office of the President (OP).
Before she was tapped by PBBM to become the regular head of PCO, Cheloy served as chairperson of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
However, she resigned to accept PBBM’s offer to serve as OPS Officer-In-Charge (OIC) and Undersecretary after her predecessor lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles stepped down reportedly due to health reasons.
Cheloy definitely knows her law as she was also a prosecutor and state solicitor under the Justice Department and the Office of the Solicitor General, respectively.
Was she also a psychic, having the gift of premonition?
In October last year, Garafil said her office will see “some changes” in the coming days.
She was indeed right.
Cheloy vowed that under her watch, the PCO will be “transparent and accurate” in delivering and disseminating information on the Marcos administration’s policies, programs, activities, and accomplishments.
Now, I believe Eric is really blessed to have a “queen” like Cheloy.