Netizens raised collective eyebrows after it was announced yesterday that filmmaker Paul Soriano, husband to Toni Gonzaga, had been appointed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr as a presidential adviser on creative communications.
Soriano took his oath before the president in Malacañang Palace on Monday. Malacañang has yet to disclose what the newly created role actually entails.
The filmmaker’s appointment didn’t sit well with some Filipinos. For one thing, as a presidential adviser, Soriano would be entitled to salary grade 31, the same salary level as senators and representatives, who take home at least PHP273,278 (US$4,632) monthly.
However, in the official press release announcing the appointment, Marcos said the filmmaker has agreed to the role with an annual salary of PHP1.
“One of the greatest assets of the Filipino is our creativity, and we must find many ways to highlight that to the rest of the world. And that is what Paul Soriano has already been doing in his career as a filmmaker. And now we have asked him to help us at one peso per year,” the president said in a statement.
Others balked at the vagueness of his role and wondered if it was a veiled term for propaganda.
Many questioned how the Palace had time to create a new role for Soriano while Marcos has yet to appoint a Department of Health secretary over 100 days into his presidency.
Marcos and the newly minted presidential adviser have ties going way back: Soriano is the nephew of Marcos’ wife, First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos. The president also served as godfather at Soriano and Gonzaga’s wedding in 2015. Soriano also directed ads for Marcos Jr’s campaign in the run-up to May’s elections.