By Genalyn Kabiling
The Cabinet is almost filled with former military officials who can easily launch a coup attempt against the government, President Duterte said last Thursday.
The President made the candid comment as he defended anew the appointment of several military men to lead various government agencies.
“If you would notice, halos ang Cabinet members ko military na. Iyong isang side sa Cabinet, puro military ‘yan sila diyan nakalinya. Tapos ang civilian kaharap. Pwede ng mag-coup d’etat kung gusto talaga nila. Kumpleto na [If you notice, most of my Cabinet members are from the military. One side of the Cabinet come from the military. They are all lined up side facing the civilians. They can launch a coup d’eta if they want to. It’s complete],” Duterte said during the birthday celebration of former political adviser Francis Tolentino in Tagaytay City Thursday.
“You know why my penchant to get the military? Alam naman kasi ng military, in my experience for 23 years with them as mayor, pulis. Hindi naman ako mag-utos ng mali. At sabi ko sa kanila ‘pag inutos ko, akin ‘yan [the military and police know, in my experience with them as mayor, I don’t issue unlawful orders. And if I issue an order, I take responsibility for it],” he added.
Among the new Cabinet members with military background are Information and Communications Secretary Gregorio Honasan II, Presidential political adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., and Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista.
Honasan was a former rebel soldier, Galvez a former military chief, while Bautista previously served as Army chief.
Other ex-military men in the President’s official family are Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council chair Eduardo del Rosario, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general Isidro Lapeña.
The President earlier expressed his preference for former military and police officials in key government posts because they follow orders and get the job done fast.