Aug 242014
The House Committee on National Defense and Security has approved a measure prohibiting the appointment of a commissioned officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as Secretary of the Department of National Defense within three years after he has been separated from active duty.

House Bill No. 2, authored by committee chair Muntinlupa City Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, amends Section 45 of Chapter 10 Book IV of Executive Order 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987.

The Administrative Code lists the general qualifications and limitations required of all Cabinet members, in addition to those prescribed in their respective charters.

Biazon, a former AFP Chief of Staff, said the Administrative Code’s provision on the requirements for the appointment of the DND Secretary should be amended to “emphasize further the supremacy of civilian authority over the military.

“By prohibiting a former military officer from being appointed within three years after relief from active duty, the position will be shielded from controversies arising from appointments, assignments, and other activities within the AFP,” he said in the bill’s explanatory note.

The three-year ban on appointing  former military officers as DND Secretary will not only give them sufficient time to adapt to civilian life, but will also allow them to be “more objective and impartial in policy formulation and determination” as a result of not having prior personal and professional relationships with the [active] officers, Biazon added.

Former AFP chiefs

Last week, former AFP chief and retired Gen. Emmanuel Bautista was appointed as an undersecretary under the Office of the President, in particular as executive director of the Cabinet’s security, justice and peace cluster.

Bautista’s appointment was announced a month after he relinquished the military leadership to General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr.

All former AFP chiefs who served under the Aquino administration – retired Generals Ricardo David, Eduardo Oban Jr. and Jessie Dellosa – were given government posts after they bowed out of military service.

David was named head of the Bureau of Immigration in 2011 but resigned from his post in 2013. Dellosa, meanwhile, serves as deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Customs.

Earlier this year, President Benigno Aquino III appointed Oban as the new executive director of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Among the former military officers who lived a civilian life for several years before serving as the Secretary of National Defense are late President Ramon Magsaysay (September 1, 1950 to February 28, 1953 and January to May 1954); Macario Peralta, Jr. (1962-65); Rafael M. Ileto (1986-1988), and Voltaire T. Gazmin (July 1, 2010 to present). Xianne Arcangel /LBG, GMA News

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