'Gibo' visits Duterte, backs choice for defense chief

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 02 2016 11:49 PM

DAVAO CITY - Former Defense Secretary Gilberto 'Gibo' Teodoro Jr. on Thursday paid a visit to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

Teodoro refused to answer questions on why he did not end up as Duterte's defense secretary, a post initially offered to him by the tough-talking executive but was later given to retired Major General Delfin Lorenzana.

He said he came to Duterte's temporary office at the so-called "Malacanang of the South" in Davao City to thank the new chief executive.

“That’s water below the bridge. I’m not gonna talk about it. The important thing is a good person was chosen,” Teodoro told reporters in an interview.

READ: The Duterte Cabinet: All the President's men

Duterte initially offered the top defense post to Teodoro, who also served as as defense secretary during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The long-time mayor of Davao City, however, later said Teodoro declined the offer. 

Duterte, who claims he is against destructible mining activities, cited Teodoro’s ties with mining firms as one of the reasons for the latter's supposed rejection. 

This prompted Teodoro to clarify that he had not yet turned down the post, until Lorenzana was eventually announced as Duterte’s choice for defense secretary last Tuesday.

Teodoro also declined to answer questions on whether Duterte offered him any post during the meeting. He added that he did not recommend Lorenzana to the post.

“No, no, definitely not. But I know General Lorenzana and I know his capability,” he said.