'I can rely on them': Duterte defends 'militarization' of Cabinet

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 03 2019 12:55 AM | Updated as of Aug 03 2019 01:17 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday defended his decision anew of appointing former military and police officers to key positions in government.

Speaking before agrarian reform beneficiaries in Davao City, he said he choose to fill his Cabinet with former men in uniform because he can rely on them.

"When a military man retires, he is for all intents and purposes nothing but a civilian. And second, because I can rely on them. And third is because most of them are fundamentally honest," he said.

The president made the remark after Sen. Richard Gordon criticized his choice of appointing ex-military and ex-police men in the administration.

"So sabi nga ni Gordon, he says militarization of the Cabinet because most of the members of the Cabinet are former military officers. He’s a lawyer but I just don’t know why he choose to interpret it," he said.

Duterte earlier slammed Gordon over the issue, saying the senator is a "fart away from disaster."

Reacting on the president's remark, Gordon said no offense taken, saying "we cannot be onion-skinned about such things."

Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said his comments were made "in good faith and out of concern for our country and the President.”

Among Duterte's appointees with military and police background include Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan, formerly of the Philippine Army and most recently senator; Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff; Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, former Philippine Army chief; Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista, former Philippine Army chief; Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, former AFP chief of staff; Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, also a former military chief; and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director-General Isidro Lapeña, a retired Philippine National Police operations chief.