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Not about friendship: Duterte on military appointments to Cabinet

/ 10:36 AM October 16, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte (right) leads the turnover of command from retired-Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista (second from right) to Maj. Gen. Macairog Alberto during rites in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. PHOTO FROM PHILIPPINE ARMY

It’s all about competence.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday explained again the military promotions and his recent appointment of former military men to his Cabinet, saying they were not about friendship.

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“When I appoint you, it’s not friendship. It has nothing to do with that,” the President told military officers and guests at the Army leadership turnover ceremony in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

He added, “Alam ng Board of Generals ‘yan, I promised that I will not tinker with your… I have yet even to call one Cabinet member or one military or police officials. Alam ninyo ‘yan. I do not make calls.”

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“I’ve been mayor for almost 23 years and all of you kaya ko kilala — that’s why I know almost all of you because at one time or another you sojourned or had been assigned in Mindanao. And since I was the constant RPOC chairman I have dealt with you in so many events. Kilala ninyo ako. Kilala ko kayo,” he added.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, who bowed out of service as he reached the mandatory retirement age of 56, was tapped by Duterte as the next secretary of Department of Social Welfare and Development.

His appointment was met with criticism as he joins the growing list of former military men who head government agencies.

“Now, let me just make it clear to everybody. Many are questioning me even some of the ambassadors who are close to me: Why do you choose now most of them military or police — retired?” the President said.

“Well, I choose them because they are honest and competent. What else? Sabi nila na you want to be ingratiated. Ako? I was not elected by the military. I was not elected by the police. I was elected by the Filipino people. You have your mandate, I have mine,” he added.

Bautista will fill a position vacated by Judy Taguiwalo in August, after her appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments.

Major General Macairog Alberto, who replaced Bautista as Army chief, was also reportedly close to the President after serving as Task Force Davao commander when the President was mayor of Davao City.

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He was the commander of the military’s Intelligence Service prior his appointment. /cbb

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