‘Military’ appointees

October 29, 2018

Discipline, professionalism, patriotism.

These are core principles of military officers and soldiers.

They are ingrained in cadets or trainees starting out as young aspirants for a long and dedicated career officers in the Armed Forces or the National Police.

But being a constitutional democracy under which civilian authority is superior at all times over the military and police, appointees to national executive positions are reserved for non-uniformed candidates.

The idea is to dispel notions that key government positions are being militarized.

But when an AFP or PNP official retires from the service, he or she ceases to be a uniformed officer.

In short, he or she becomes a civilian.

And when he or she accepts a new government position, he or she brings decades of experience, training, and military or police work ethic to the new job.

House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo believes there is an advantage in appointing military men in key government posts.

Arroyo made the statement on Friday following President Duterte’s announcement to transfer Bureau of Customs (BoC) chief Isidro Lapeña to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and designate Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Administrator Rey Leonardo Borja Guerrero to take over the BoC.

“They are literally good soldiers that’s why,” she said in an ambush interview during her inspection of her retaining wall project in Sasmuan, Pampanga.

Arroyo added that President Duterte knows what he is doing.

“Let me just say that I've been president and I know more or less that the President has to consider so many things when he makes his decision so I'm not going to be a part of the peanut gallery making comments on his actions,” Arroyo said.

Duterte made the reshuffling announcement in front of military and government officials, including Lapeña and Guerrero, during the 117th anniversary of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Port Area, Manila on Thursday.

“General Lapeña will move to TESDA. I will promote you to a Cabinet member position,” Duterte said after reading his prepared speech.

“So, Sid (Lapeña) ‘yung trabaho ng (work there in )TESDA it’s quite something of a --- it could be messy at times. But I’m sure your training as a military man, just like Jagger (Guerrero), would all go well for the country,” he added.