MANILA - Former Defense chief and 2010 presidential aspirant Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. denied Sunday that he had declined the offer of presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte to return to the Department of National Defense (DND).
Teodoro said he is still studying the invitation of handling the defense portfolio anew.
“I have not declined the offer of the President-elect to serve as defense secretary. The importance of the position to the national interest requires no less than serious consultation especially with the President-elect before accepting such in order to ensure that a prospective Secretary is the right choice,” Teodoro said in a statement released by Atty. Rafael Alunan.
During a press conference on Sunday morning, Duterte himself said that Teodoro has declined his invitation to sit in the incoming Cabinet.
"Tumanggi talaga siya. Nakita mo pawis na pawis ang mama nung nagharap kami. Maybe ayaw talaga," Duterte told reporters in Davao City.
Duterte indicated that their supposedly opposing views on mining had something to do with Teodoro’s decision.
“I just think that he is into the mining business. Alam na niya ang galit ko sa mining, na those who operated the mining areas destroyed the environment,” Duterte said.
Teodoro, who is chairman of a mining company, was among the dignitaries, politicians and well-wishers who visited Duterte in Davao City last Monday, May 16.
"I was surprised. I thought we would just meet and I would offer my congratulations. But then (Las Piñas representative) Mark Villar and me were offered the post," Teodoro told reporters at the time.
Teodoro had said he gave no commitment to Duterte, asking for time to think about it.
"I answered that it's not a decision I can make alone. I have to consult my family and a lot of commitments I had and have made, and I will have to come back to him with a decision," he reasoned.
Teodoro was Tarlac representative before becoming secretary of the DND under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He had been out of the limelight after he ran and lost the race for the presidency in 2010 as Arroyo's anointed successor under the Lakas-Kampi-CMD party.