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MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday, August 23, that he has renewed his offer to Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr to be his defense chief.
“I hope he does accept,” Duterte said in his speech before military officers at the Palace Rizal Hall.
He said he will appoint Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as an “ambassador” to an unspecified country, which will create a vacancy in his Cabinet.
The President said he asked someone to relay the offer to Teodoro, who used to be his lawyer. Duterte first offered Teodoro to be his defense secretary on May 22, when it was clear that he had won the presidency.
Teodoro said then that he would think about the offer and consult his family, but then Duterte appointed retired army general Lorenzana to the defense portfolio.
Duterte suddenly discussed his plan for Lorenzana and Teodoro while telling military officers that his administration will ensure that the Armed Forces of the Philippines “will have the things the best that we can afford.”
He then said that there’s an ambassadorial post that needs to be filled in right away, and that he thought of Lorenzana for the position. Duterte did not mention any particular country, only that there is a pressing need to appoint the Philippine envoy to the head the diplomatic post there.
A Palace source said Lorenzana will be appointed ambassador to the United States. The Philippines currently has no ambassador to the US, as former ambassador Jose Cuisia, an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino III, left his post when the new administration took over.
If Teodoro would not accept the offer, Duterte said he would choose from among the military service.
“Marami naman dito, pumili lang ako. You’re all good at okay na tao (There are a lot [of qualified people] here, I’ll just choose from among you. You’re all good and okay people),” he said.
Teodoro, 52, a former congressman and presidential candidate, had served as defense chief of the Arroyo administration. – Rappler.com