Prevailing civil-military junta


The civilian bureaucracy of the US-Duterte regime is dominated by what is practically a civil-military junta. This July, the number of positions in the government held by retired military and police officials already reached 64. Eleven of them are in his cabinet and spearhead major agencies. This number is set to increase as Rodrigo Duterte is set to appoint another retired soldier to head the Department of Agriculture.

These military and police officials appointed by Duterte are notorious for butchery, subservience to their US master and massive corruption. He rewarded them with civil powers to continue with the brutal counter-insurgency programs which they previously spearheaded as battalion and division commanders in Mindanao. Thus, most of them have had earlier engagements with Duterte when he was still the Mayor of Davao City.

Militarized departments

Five out of 21 departments of the Duterte government (one is vacant) are directly headed by retired military officials. The Department of Agrarian Reform is also headed by a graduate of the Philippine Miltary Academy who did not serve as a soldier.

Leading among these militarists is Ret. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana, secretary of the Department of National Defense. He is a rabid implementor of US policies in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) since he was appointed in 2002 as Defense Attache of the AFP in Washington DC. He worked hand in hand with Duterte in the late 1980s when he became the commander of the Second Scout Ranger Battalion in Davao City.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is headed by Ret. Gen. Roy Cimatu. He was dubbed “General Pacman” for spearheading the “all-out war” in Mindanao under the regime of Joseph Estrada. When he was still Chief of Staff of the AFP, he was implicated in the “pabaon” scandal in which he pocketed ₱50 million in “retirement benefits.”

Eduardo Año, veteran intelligence officer, currently heads the Department of Interior and Local Government which manages the budget of the Philippine National Police (PNP). He is responsible for the abduction of activist Jonas Burgos as he served as the head of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when the crime was perpetrated. Año was also the commander of the 10th ID when Leoncio Pitao (Ka Parago) was killed hors de combat in 2015.

Gregorio Honasan was also appointed as secretary of the Department of Information and Communication Technology. Honasan were among the soldiers who mounted a coup against former president Corazon Aquino. Meanwhile, Ret. Gen. Rolando Bautista, a military chief of the Duterte regime who recently retired, is the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Other civilian positions

Duterte also offered them other positions in the civilian bureaucracy outside his cabinet. Among these are the Bureau of Customs (BoC) which is now headed by Commissioner Ret. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero. He replaced Ret. Police Gen. Isidro Lapeña after being implicated in smuggling ₱6.4 billion worth of shabu from China.

Despite this, Lapeña was reappointed as director of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Former BoC chief Nicanor Faeldon who was compelled to resign was reappointed as chief of the Bureau of Corrections, the former position of PNP chief Ronaldo de la Rosa before running for senator. Faeldon was involved in two coup attempts against former president Gloria Arroyo.

Meanwhile, Carlito Galvez Jr. was appointed as head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process after Duterte canceled peace negotiations between the GRP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. He was a military officer of Duterte and was involved in a coup attempt in 1989.

Also currently headed by former military officials are the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and National Security, among others.

Prevailing civil-military junta