By Deighton Acuin


Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque on Wednesday said there is nothing wrong with President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision of appointing retired military officials in top government posts.

During an interview with veteran journalist Malou Mangahas, Roque said the ex-military officials in Duterte’s cabinet exemplifies discipline.

“Wala namang masama roon. Tignan mo naman si General Galvez, iyong discipline niya as a military official, nagagamit nita sa procurement ng COVID-19 vaccines.  I don’t think he (President Duterte) made a mistake,” Roque said, referring to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. who was earlier appointed by Duterte as the country’s COVID-19 vaccine czar.

At least 1.12 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to the Philippines so far.

Of this number, 600,000 doses were Sinovac donated by the Chinese government while 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines were donated by wealthy nations and firms under the COVAX facility which is a global facility aiding low and middle income countries in their pandemic response.

The Philippines started its COVID-19 vaccination program last March 1, the last to do so among 10 Southeast Asian nations.

However, Roque maintained ex-military officials are dependable. He also denied that hiring former military men compromises quality and leaves agencies under a leader with no expertise.

“I see how they work, at iba iyong disiplina and diligence hanggang magawa nila ang order ni Presidente, and that matters in public administration,” Roque said.

“Hindi po. In a matter of expertise, doktor ang Secretary of Health, ekonomista ang nasa NEDA, malawak ang karanasan sa private sector ng DTI Secretary, at hindi sundalo ang DFA Secretary.”

“But when it comes to efficiency in government, tiwala siya sa mga dating militar in implementing his orders,” Roque added.

Aside from Galvez, other retired military officials serving in the Duterte Cabinet include Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, Director General Isidro Lapeña of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Customs Bureau chief Rey Guerrero, Secretary Rolando Bautista of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.