House leader sees ex-military men as assets to Duterte gov’t

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

FORMER President now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo  expressed support to President Rodrigo Duterte for appointing ex-military officials to his Cabinet.

Arroyo said that having military men in the executive branch is an advantage for the administration.

“They are literally good soldiers, that’s why,” Arroyo said without much elaboration when asked if she agreed with the President’s penchant for appointing military men.

Very recently, Duterte transferred Bureau of Customs Chief Isidro Lapena to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Lapena belongs to Philippine Military Academy Class Maagap of 1973. He served as Philippine National Police director for operations and acting chief of PNP Directorial Staff.

Lapena will be replaced by another military officer, Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) administrator Rey Leonardo Guerrero.

Guerrero, a graduate of PMA class 1984, is the former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Duterte also appointed as Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Philippine Army chief Major General Rolando Bautista.

Some of the ex-military and police officials in Duterte’s Cabinet are Secretaries Roy Cimatu (Environment); Eduardo Año (Interior Undersecretary-OIC); Eduardo del Rosario (chair of Housing and Bangon Marawi Task Force); Commissioner Isidro Lapeña (Customs); and Glorioso Miranda (Bases Conversion and Development Authority).

Duterte in one of his speeches said he appoints retired military and police officers because they are honest and competent.

But Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said that with Gen. Guerrero now being assigned to the BoC and Gen. Lapena transferred to TESDA, Duterte’s militarization of the bureaucracy is expanding.

“Guerrero would be the 61st military appointee to the civil government and strengthens the de facto military junta now in place in the country,” the progressive solon said.

“Having no proven competence nor knowledge of the agencies they are assigned in, these former military men just follow orders from the top. Yet, they just remain silent when corruption is exposed in their department then they are reassigned to another agency like what happened to Faeldon and Lapena,” he added.