New Palace post for ex-AFP chief

MANILA, Philippines – Retired General Emmanuel Bautista is returning to government service next month with a new rank. Start calling him undersecretary beginning September 1, when he is scheduled to start his civilian job in the Office of the President.

President Benigno Aquino III appointed Bautista to a newly created post – Executive Director of the Cabinet Cluster on Security, Justice, and Peace, Rappler learned. 

Security, Justice, and Peace is one of the 5 Cabinet clusters created by Aquino in 2011, through Executive Order No. 43, to lead policy discussions on key issues such as territorial disputes and peace talks.

The EO names  Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa Jr as the chairman of the cluster. 

"The Security Cluster shall ensure the preservation of national sovereignty and the rule of law; and focus on the protection and promotion of human rights and the pursuit of a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace," the EO reads.

The EO specifies the following goals:

The other members of the cluster are Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, and National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia. The National Security Council serves as the secretariat. 

Aquino announced in July that he was giving Bautista a new government post after a month of vacation. He did not reveal the post but speculations were rife back then that he was going to replace the defense chief.

Bautista served as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from January 2013 to July 2014. A series of crisis happened under his watch. 

Bautista had to deal with the Sabah crisis shortly after he assumed the post in January 2013; the March 2013 kidnapping of peacekeepers in Golan Heights; the September 2013 siege in Zamboanga City; the October 2013 earthquake in Bohol and Cebu; and Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas in November 2013.

Bautista also helped draft the counterinsurgency program of the military – the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan which was put in place when he was deputy chief of staff for operations (J3) under the Arroyo government.

Aside from the security cluster, the other 4 Cabinet clusters are: Good Governance and Anti-Corruption chaired by the President himself; Human Development and Poverty Reduction chaired by Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman; Economic Development chaired by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisma; and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation chaired by Environment Secretary Ramon Paje. – Rappler.com