DICT chief Honasan defends his credentials

Ralf Rivas
DICT chief Honasan defends his credentials
'I've been chairman of labor, environment, defense, public order.... If may problema, eh di 'wag ako,' says new Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan II

MANILA, Philippines – Newly appointed Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Gregorio Honasan II defended his appointment amid criticism that he is unfit to lead the agency and lacks the basic qualifications for the post.

Critics have cited Republic Act No. 10844, or the DICT law, which states that no person may be appointed DICT secretary unless they have “at least 7 years of competence and expertise in any of the following: information and communications technology, information technology service management, information security management, cyber security, data privacy, e-Commerce, or human capital development in the ICT sector.”

In a press briefing on Tuesday, July 2, Honasan said he has over 4 decades of experience in the military and the Senate that are related to ICT.

“I’ve been chairman of labor, environment, defense, public order…. If there are questions about my technical competence, maybe it’s up for debate, but I would put these credentials,” Honasan said.

“Let the appointing authority decide. If may problema, eh di ‘wag ako (If there’s a problem, then don’t appoint me),” he added.

Meanwhile, former DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr, who has been appointed as undersecretary for operations, believes Honasan has the necessary management skills plus background on intelligence communication.

Rio jokingly said that Honasan exhibited good management skills when he was able to evade government forces. Honasan went into hiding at least twice – under the administrations of Corazon Aquino and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

He was arrested after the August 1987 coup at a house in Pasig City. He was imprisoned in a ship moored in Manila Bay, but managed to escape later.

Honasan also went underground after the Arroyo administration accused him of masterminding the botched 2003 Oakwood mutiny that was led by young military officers.

Honasan was among those charged by the Department of Justice with staging a coup d’etat. A Makati City court later junked the charges against him.

“It was the most secured by standards [of] the Armed Forces then when they were planning the EDSA Revolution – that was not known. So what can be more secure than that?” Rio said.

Rio added that the DICT can have a pool of experts for technical matters. Honasan’s strength, he said, lies in his experience in intelligence communication. – Rappler.com 

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.