CA confirms appointment of Gilbert Teodoro as defense secretary

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 13) — The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday confirmed the ad interim appointment of Gilbert Teodoro as the secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND).

A panel of the powerful CA led a hearing over Teodoro's position when it moved to endorse his appointment to the plenary.

At the hearing, the defense chief urged the panel to support and converge with his agency's efforts in building a "robust defense profile for the country" in order to sustain the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and reputation of the Philippines.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte motioned that the 12-member House contingent of the panel would not question Teodoro and expressed his cluster's support for the appointee, citing his previous tenure in the lower chamber when he represented Tarlac's 1st district from 1998 to 2007.

"The nominees are subjected in this body in order to determine their fitness and competence. The 12-member House contingent has no doubt regarding the fitness and integrity of the nominee," Villafuerte said.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, CA chairman, and Sen. Bong Go expressed full support for Teodoro.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, scrutinized Teodoro's knowledge of the country's defense sector. He previously held the defense portfolio from August 2007 to November 2009 during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

When asked how the sector had changed between his defense terms, he said: "There has been a shift in evolution from focus. Right now, it's about straddling the balance between maintaining internal security and, with an emphasis given yung pangyayari sa outside environment natin, pinapatatag natin ang defense posture natin [given what is happening in our outside environment, strengthening our defense posture."

Amid China's escalation of its aggression in the West Philippine Sea, Teodoro stressed the importance of a "credible deterrent posture," or upgrading the country's defense capability to deter future harassment or possible attacks by other countries.


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He also said internal threats have "waned significantly," and the need to focus on protecting Philippine sovereign rights in the country's exclusive economic zone and jurisidications has become more paramount as the world is in a race for resources, territory and influence.

"If diplomacy is not backed by a strong spinal cord, then we will be just stymied by a greater force," he added.

He also admitted that the DND and its support agencies need to modernize and better manage their resources and services.

"We'll try to introduce management solutions to managerial problems, and not military solutions to managerial problems," he said.

Zubiri, during the CA Plenary session, confirmed Teodoro's ad interim appointment.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on June 5 named Teodoro as defense chief, the same day he appointed Ted Herbosa as health secretary.