Panelo defends Duterte’s choice of next DSWD chief
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Monday defended the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint a retiring Army chief as the next secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
In a speech in Malacañang recently, Duterte, who has been known to appoint ex-military officers in his administration, announced Army Chief Liutenant Rolando Bautista as his choice for the DSWD’s top post.
According to Panelo, Duterte picked Bautista because of he is “incorruptible” and because of his clean track record in the military.
“Ang sundalo maraming karanasan iyan sa lahat ng klaseng tao. Ang mahalaga diyan iyong nilalagay ni Presidente, eh mayroon siyang tiwala at incorruptible (Soldiers have experiences dealing with all kinds of people. The important thing is that the President is putting someone he trusts and someone incorruptible in that position),” Panelo said in an interview over state-run Radyo Pilipinas.
“Iyon ang pinakamahalaga kay Presidente, walang bahid ng korapsyon, may integridad at mapagkakatiwalaan niya at may alam (That’s the most important thing, the person is not tainted by corruption, has integrity, and can be trusted),” he added.
Duterte’s choice didn’t sit well with officials and employees of the DSWD, noting that the plan to appoint Bautista would be an “insult” to social workers.
Opposition Senator Franklin Drilon also cautioned the President of the risks of a militarized administration.
“We admit that it is within the President’s power to appoint his Cabinet but there is a principle or guideline that you must not militarize the bureaucracy,” he said.
The DSWD is currently headed by Acting Secretary Virginia Orogo. The President earlier said he wanted Bautista, who will retire on October 15, to be the National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator, a post vacated by the resignation of another former military man, Jason Aquino. /ee
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