Marcos: Sara Duterte wants to be Defense chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 25) — Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he may appoint his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as the country’s Defense chief if he wins the election.

“Ang gusto niyang puntahan is DND...Nagulat din ako nung sinabi niya sakin, but it seems like it's going to be a good idea,” he said when was asked about potential Cabinet members during an interview.

[Translation: She wants to go to the Department of National Defense. I was also surprised when she told me, but it seems like it's going to be a good idea.]

Marcos also expressed confidence that Duterte would bring a lot to the table, such as helping combat terrorism, which he said is something that she helped address in Davao City.

“Nakilala ko na nang mabuti si Mayor Sara [I've known Mayor Sara well], and she's a very intelligent person, and I'm sure her ideas will be of value,” he added.

Marcos said he only wants "the best" individuals to be part of his Cabinet, and he is willing to include members of the opposition if he thinks they are the most suited for the role.

"Walang kinalaman ang partido. Walang kinalaman ang utang na loob sa kampanya. Walang kinalaman sa kamag-anak," he added. "Ang iniisip lang natin ang kung sino ang pinakamagaling na umupo diyan sa pwestong 'yan."

[Translation: It has nothing to do with the political party. It has nothing to do with debt of gratitude owed after the campaign. It has nothing to do with family members. The only thing we're thinking of is who is most fit for the position.]

Based on the 1987 Constitution, Duterte may still be appointed as a Cabinet member even if she becomes vice president.

Last week, Duterte said she would push for the imposition of mandatory military service for all Filipinos upon turning 18 years old, if she wins the vice presidency in the May polls.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the DND supports Duterte’s proposal, but noted this would be difficult to implement due to lack of resources.

Requiring Grades 11 and 12 students to undergo the Reserve Officers' Training Corps or ROTC program may be a “better alternative,” he added.