Rodrigo Duterte

‘It’s your choice’: Duterte offers MWSS, DND post to ex-AFP chief Gapay

Rambo Talabong

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‘It’s your choice’: Duterte offers MWSS, DND post to ex-AFP chief Gapay

NEW POST? Former AFP chief Gilbert Gapay speaks to reporters in November 2020.

Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

The offer follows Duterte's practice of appointing retired generals, despite them having little to no experience in civilian work

Barely an hour after he relinquished his post as chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), retired General Gilbert Gapay already got a job offer from President Rodrigo Duterte.

After praising him for his 6-month stint as military chief, Duterte veered from his official speech, addressing Gapay: “You might want MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System). Or you might want your home ground, DND (Department of National Defense).”

“It’s your choice,” Duterte added.

The offer follows Duterte’s practice of appointing retired generals to executive agencies, despite them having little to no experience in specialized civilian work.

In the case of the MWSS, Duterte previously appointed retired Lieutenant General Emmanuel Salamat, former chief of the Northern Luzon Command, to the board. The current MWSS chair is a former police general, Reynaldo Velasco.

In the case of the DND, retired generals already populate the top posts. Gapay may be appointed assistant secretary or undersecretary with a specialized role.

When asked about their capability to lead civilian agencies, the former uniformed officials repeatedly reason that their years of leadership could help bring in a new perspective to the bureaucracy.

For Duterte, it’s about speed and trust, as he said in a speech in August 2019.

“I can move faster with honesty. It’s difficult to find honest people these days,” Duterte said. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.