MANILA - Malacañang slammed former National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza for criticizing the supposed “militarization of civilian bureaucracy” after several agencies under the Office of the Cabinet Secretary were transferred to two departments headed by former military officials.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Maza “has a misplaced – if not distorted – view of the reorganization and composition of the Cabinet.”
“Ms. Maza’s appointment to the government, including those identified or allied with the Left, did not make the Cabinet communist or convert the respective offices they headed leftist. Her conclusion, therefore, that placing former military men in executive offices automatically translates to a military junta-led government is completely erroneous,” Panelo said in a statement.
“The President’s inclusion of left-leaning personalities in the Cabinet is part of his sincere effort to end the communist insurgency by inviting them to put their talents to good use in serving the nation - instead of calling for the government's ouster - and be agents for peace and unification.
In a Facebook post, Maza slammed the transfer of several policy and advisory national commissions, including NAPC, under the direct supervision of Department of the Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año and Department of Social and Welfare Development Secretary Rolando Bautista.
Año was former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, while Bautista recently retired as Army chief.
“The horror story this halloween is EO 67 that was released yesterday placing six policy oversight and advisory national commissions including NAPC under the direct supervision of two former military officials Ano and Bautista,” Maza said.
“No to militarization of civilian bureaucracy! No to military junta! No to Martial Law of whatever form!”
Duterte has repeatedly defended his appointment of former military officials to various government posts, saying they are more professional and delivers faster compared to career officials.
In a recent speech, the President said his critics are "correct" that there is now a militarization of the bureaucracy.
"I will not sit as President and let you render me inutile as you continue with your corruption there in Customs right in front of me. P***** i** niyo. Now you have a problem. They say it’s militarization of the government, correct. They say, 'Please tell mayor that not all of us are corrupt.' That’s true," he said.
“The President’s appointment of former uniformed personnel to key Cabinet or sub-Cabinet posts reflects his trust to the military hierarchy known for its high degree of professionalism, discipline, and can-do attitude,” Panelo said.
Panelo, who also serves as the President’s chief legal counsel, said there is nothing unconstitutional about Duterte’s appointment of former military officials to the bureaucracy as they are now technically civilians.
Under President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 67, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Cooperative Development Authority were moved to the Department of Trade and Industry.
The DILG, meanwhile, will supervise the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, the Philippine Commission on Women, and the National Youth Commission.
The National Anti-Poverty Commission, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor were transferred under the DSWD.
Panelo said the EO’s intent in rationalizing the Executive Banch through EO No. 67 is to promote “greater efficiency, agency convergence and participatory governance in the delivery of essential public services to all the sectors of society.”