(Part 1 of Duterte Watch 2019, a SunStar Philippines special report about the “militarization” of the bureaucracy and the legacy that President Rodrigo Duterte wants to leave behind.)
NO, HE has no plan to declare martial law nationwide, President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly said.
Why would he when he has already appointed dozens of retired uniformed men to civilian posts in government?
On October 31, 2018, he admitted the “militarization” of the government.
Halfway into his six-year term, President Duterte has named 46 former military and police officers to key civilian posts in government, including 10 Cabinet and Cabinet-level positions.
He is not done. Duterte has said that he intends to hire more former military and police men in government in his last three years in office.
Duterte, in a July 13, 2019 interview with two of the country's major dailies, said he wanted retired soldiers and cops to have a greater role in his administration as he lamented the sluggish work of some civilian workers in the government.
He brushed aside observations that he was trying to win the uniformed men to his side by appointing them to government, saying he does not need to because he has the mandate of the Filipino people.
"I was elected by the people. Ang gusto ko lang sa (What I want about the) military is I can have the job done," Duterte added.
On July 18, 2019, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte is impressed with the diligence of military men.
"'Yun ang gusto niya, military. Mas bilib siya sa military. Masipag. Wala ng mga chechebureche. Trabaho kaagad (He wants the military. He admires the military's diligence. They don't hesitate to do the job. They do the work immediately)," Panelo said.
As of July 15, 2019, five of the 20 current heads of executive departments in the Duterte Cabinet are former military men. They are:
* Delfin Lorenzana, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary
- retired Army general and a former defense attache to the United States
- member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) "Maagap" Class 1973
- took oath in June 2016 as the head of the Department of National Defense
* Roy Cimatu, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary
- a retired general who served as AFP Chief-of-Staff under Arroyo government
- member of PMA "Magiting" Class 1970
- appointed by Duterte to lead the DENR in May 2017
* Rolando Bautista, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary
- retired Army chief and former Presidential Security Group under Duterte government
- member of PMA "Sandiwa" Class 1985
- took oath as head of DSWD in October 2018
* Eduardo Año, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary
- retired general appointed as AFP Chief-of-Staff under Duterte government
- member of PMA "Matikas" Class 1983
- took oath as head of DILG in November 2018
* Gregorio Honasan II, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary
- retired Army officer who became senator
- member of PMA "Matatag" Class 1971
- took oath as head of the DICT in July 2019
Cabinet-level officials who are retired officers of the military and police:
* Hermogenes Esperon Jr., National Security Adviser
- retired general who served as Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff and a former Presidential Adviser on Peace Process under Arroyo government
- member of PMA "Marangal" Class 1974
- took oath as part of Duterte's Cabinet in June 2016
* Danilo Lim, chairperson of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
- retired Brigadier General
- member of PMA "Makatarungan" Class 1978
- served as MMDA chair in May 2017
* Eduardo del Rosario, chairperson of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council
- retired Army general
- member of PMA "Mapitagan" Class 1980
- took oath as housing czar in July 2017
* Isidro Lapeña, director general of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda)
- retired police general
- served as Customs Commissioner under Duterte government
- transferred to Tesda in October 2018
* Carlito Galvez Jr., Presidential Peace Adviser
- retired general who served as AFP Chief-of-Staff under Duterte government
- member of PMA "Sandiwa" Class 1985
- tapped as Duterte's presidential adviser on peace process in December 2018
Of the 10 Cabinet and Cabinet-level officials, Lapeña is the most controversial over his failure to address the smuggling of P11 billion worth of shabu that slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BOC) during his stint.
Lapeña, despite being mired in controversies, was "promoted" by Duterte as Tesda chief holding a Cabinet rank. In October last year, Duterte explained that he had to reassign the former BOC chief' to spare the latter from "intrigue."
In January 2019, Lapeña faced two counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, dereliction of duty and grave misconduct over the two incidents of shabu shipments.
But Malacañang, in the same month, said the Tesda chief still enjoys Duterte's trust and confidence.
Meanwhile, Honasan's appointment as DICT chief was questioned, as he allegedly failed to meet the requirements under Republic Act (RA) 10844 or the Department of Information and Communications Technology Act of 2015.
Under RA 10844, an appointed DICT secretary must have "at least seven years of competence and expertise in any of the following: information and communications technology; information technology service management, information security management, cybersecurity, data privacy, e-commerce, or human capital development in the ICT sector."
Malacañang, however, said in July 2019 that Honasan's management expertise makes him qualified to head the DICT.
Admiring the integrity and competence of men in uniform, Duterte believes that the retired soldiers and cops who are in his Cabinet can help him fulfill his mandate to serve and protect the Filipinos.
Duterte, for instance, mentioned Cimatu and Año in his several impromptu speeches and cited their significant contribution to the rehabilitation of Boracay, which was once plagued by environmental problems.
The President was confident that the former military and police men who are now Cabinet officials would follow his orders, especially when he steps up his fight against unabated corruption in government.
"Most of my Cabinet members are military people, those who have retired," the President admitted in a television interview on July 16, 2019.
"You know why? Alam mo kasi, ganito 'yan. 'Pag corrupt ka dito sa itaas, corrupt 'yan sa lahat. Police, military. Pagka-corrupt ka, corrupt lahat 'yan. Pero for as long as you stay nose clean, you can expect everybody will follow," he added.
(You know why? Because if officials holding high positions are corrupt, everybody is corrupt, including the police and military. If you are corrupt, everyone is corrupt. But for as long as you stay nose clean, you can expect everybody will follow.)
Duterte also hinted that he may appoint another "military man" as the new head of Department of Agriculture, replacing resigned Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol who will be moved to the Mindanao Development Authority.
Other former military and police officials who are holding key civilian positions in government are:
* Arthur Tabaquero (retired military general) - Presidential Adviser for Military Affairs
* Rey Leonardo Guerrero (retired Army general) - BOC Commissioner
* Nicanor Faeldon (retired Marine captain) - Bureau of Corrections director general
* Aaron Aquino (retired Police Chief Superintendent) - Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director general
* Catalino Cuy (retired police director) - Dangerous Drugs Board chairman
* Allen Capuyan (retired colonel) - National Commission on Indigenous Peoples chairperson
* Ricardo Morales (retired Army general) - Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System board member
* Ricardo Jalad (retired Army general) - National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Coordinating Council executive director
* Ricardo Visaya (retired AFP Chief-of-Staff) - administrator of National Irrigation Administration
* Alex Paul Monteagudo (retired police general) - National Intelligence Coordination Agency director general
* Emmanuel Bautista (retired AFP Chief-of-Staff) - executive director on Cabinet security, justice, and peace cluster
* Roberto Lastimoso (retired police chief) - Philippine National Railways (PNR) chairman
* Reynaldo Berroya (retired police general) - Light Rail Transit Authority administrator
* Reuben Lista (retired admiral) - Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) president and chief executive officer
* Ernesto Carolina (retired lieutenant general) - Philippine Veterans Affair Office administrator
* Robert Estioko (retired read admiral) - National Defense College of the Philippines president
* Reynaldo Mapagu (retired AFP vice chief of staff) - Defense Undersecretary for Civil, Returns, Veterans, and Retiree Affairs
* Rodolfo Garcia (retired police general) - Environment Undersecretary
* Rene Glen Paje (retired major general) - Social Welfare Undersecretary
* Michael Mellijor Tulen (retired police superintendent) – PNR director
* Eduardo Gongona (retired commodore) - Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic national director
* Gerardo Gambala (former Army captain) - Office of Transportation Security director
* Oscar Rabena (retired Air Force general) - PNOC-Exploration Corporation director
* Adolf Borje (retired Rear Admiral) - PNOC director
* Miguel Abaya (retired police general) - Development Bank of the Philippines director
* Benjamin Defensor (retired AFP Chief-of-Staff) - CDC board director
* Ferdinand Golez (retired vice admiral) -Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) director
* Glorioso Miranda (retired Philippine Army chief) - BCDA director
* Eduardo Davalan (retired Brigadier General) - John Hay Management Corporation director
* Abraham Bagasin (retired Army general) - NIA senior deputy administrator
* Raniel Ramiro (retired Brigadier General) - Customs Deputy Commissioner
* Donato San Juan (retired Lieutenant General) -Customs Deputy Commissioner
* Ricardo Banayat (retired Air Force brigadier general) - Civil Aviation of the Philippines deputy director general
* Casiano Monilla (retired major general) - Office of Civil Defense deputy administrator for operations
* Antonio Gardiola Jr. (retired police chief superintendent) - LTFRB member
* Cedrick Train (retired police director) - Office of Transportation Security Director IV
Some appointees have been embroiled in controversies.
Duterte, just recently, expressed his exasperation over the continuing irregularities within the BOC currently led by Guerrero.
Under the President's watch, the BOC has been headed by Faeldon, Lapeña, and Guerrero.
However, corrupt activities in the BOC continue, despite the Chief Executive's gambit to task a former military man to lead the bureau.
The President on July 17 acknowledged that corruption in BOC remains unresolved, but was optimistic that Guerrero can get his job done. The President fired 64 administrative personnel but retained Guerrero.
"The last stronghold ng mga [of those who are corrupt] corrupt -- it used to be the people who would like to join government would choose the BIR or the Customs. 'Yan talaga ang paborito nila," Duterte.
"So it prompted me to appoint an army man. Si Jagger Guerrero used to be the Chief of Staff. He worked in Davao once upon a time. He was the commander of the Task Force Davao. Mahusay (He's good). He's very good," he added.
Meantime, several groups have opposed Capuyan's appointment as NCIP chair.
In June, human rights group Karapatan took note of Capuyan's record that was "plagued with irregularities" for his alleged involvement in the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu into the country May 2017.
Also in June, the Sandugo Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination claimed that Capuyan, as NCIP head, "can legitimize further militarization and terrorize indigenous peoples communities nationwide."
To note, Gambala, prior to his new stint, was also the Customs deputy commissioner linked to the controversial P6.4-billion smuggled shabu.
The 1987 Constitution is silent on the appointment of retired uniformed men to civilian posts in government. Only those in active service are not allowed to hold government posts.
Section 5(4), Article 16 of the Constitution further states that “no member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the government, including government-owned or -controlled corporations or any subsidiaries.” (SunStar Philippines)