Is it secretary or officer-in-charge? Galvez says title ‘not important’ as long as he leads DND

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Monday, Jan. 23, that he does not mind whatever designation he gets as the head of the DND.

President Marcos shakes hand with retired military general Carlito Galvez Jr. after the latter accepted the President's offer as the chief of the Department of National Defense (DND). (Photo courtesy of Presidential Communications Office)

This, as rumors circulated on social media that Galvez was only appointed as a senior undersecretary of the DND, a post similar to his predecessor, Jose Faustino Jr., who resigned as the department’s officer-in-charge (OIC) two weeks ago.

“It doesn’t matter. What’s important is we put leadership in the DND so that they will be seamless and stable,” he told reporters when asked about the matter.

“The position or the designation is not important for me. Ang importante andyan ako on top of DND (What’s important is I’m on top of the DND),” he added.

Galvez said that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. does not want him to “be burdened” by his appointment when he faces the Commission on Appointments (CA) since the DND is still on a transition.

“Sa ngayon kasi, nasa transition pa tayo (Right now, we are still in a transition period) so in order for me not to be burdened by the Commission on Appointment, the Office of the President put it in a context na parang kung ano ang position in Secretary Faustino, iyan ang magiging position (whatever the position of Secretary Faustino was, that’s what I was getting),” he noted.

But Galvez said "arrangements" were being made to determine his official designation.

Several lawmakers believe that Galvez will easily hurdle his confirmation before the powerful CA given his track of record as a public servant.

Prior to being appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the DND chief, Galvez served as the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in 2018. After his retirement, he was named as the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 at the height of the pandemic, until he was named as the country’s vaccine czar to lead the vaccination efforts.

He also concurrently sits as the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity.