Arroyo backs Duterte on appointing ex-military men to gov’t posts

Mara Cepeda
Arroyo backs Duterte on appointing ex-military men to gov’t posts
'They are literally good soldiers that's why [he appointed them],' says the former president turned Pampanga 2nd District congresswoman

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo backs President Rodrigo Duterte’s penchant for appointing former military and police officers to key civilian government posts.

On Friday, October 26, Arroyo was asked by reporters if she agreed with Duterte appointing former military officers to government positions.

“They are literally good soldiers that’s why [he appointed them],” said the former president turned Pampanga 2nd District congresswoman. 

Asked if there is an advantage to having military and police officers in the bureaucracy, Arroyo replied, “Yes.”

Arroyo defended Duterte a day after he “promoted” Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, a former police general, to director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, a post with a Cabinet-rank.

Former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief and current Maritime Industry Authority Administrator Rey Guerrero will take over the BOC after Lapeña.

It is not surprising for Arroyo to back Duterte’s appointments, as she herself was criticized for the “militarization” of her own government during her 9-year term as president.

Among the former military and police officers whom Arroyo appointed to civilian posts during her presidency include Eduardo Ermita for executive secretary, Hermogenes Ebdane for the Department of Public Works and Highways, Angelo Reyes for the Department of Energy, Leandro Mendoza for the Department of Transportation and Communications, Hermogenes Esperon for the Presidential Management Staff, and Avelino Razon for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. 

Arroyo, however, refused to comment specifically on Lapeña’s transfer to TESDA and his replacement in the BOC with Guerrero.

“Let me just say that I’ve been president and I know more or less that the President has to consider so many things when he makes his decision, so I’m not going to be a part of the peanut gallery making comments on his actions,” said the Speaker.

Oppposition congressmen, however, slammed the increasing “militarization”  of the Duterte administration. 

They said Lapeña was “recycled” to  protect him from the backlash from the congressional probe into the P11-billion worth of shabu smuggled into the country that slipped past the government’s top anti-drug agencies. –


Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.


Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.