House body approves mandatory 3yrs civilian life for military officers prior to appointment as DND chief

By on August 24, 2014

Armed Forces of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of AFP Facebook page.
Armed Forces of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of AFP Facebook page.

MANILA — The House Committee on National Defense and Security has reported out for floor deliberation a measure prohibiting the appointment of a commissioned officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as Secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND) within three years after relief, separation or retirement from active duty.

House Bill No. 2 amends Section 45 of Chapter 10 Book IV of Executive Order 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987.

It was principally sponsored by Rep. Rodolfo Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), chairman of the House Committee on National Defense, and co-authored by Reps. Ferdinand Hernandez (2nd District, South Cotabato), and Joaquin M. Chipeco Jr. (2nd District, Laguna).

Administrative Code of 1987 provides for the general qualifications and limitations required of all department secretaries, in addition to those prescribed in their respective charters.

In the case of the Secretary of the Department of National Defense, Biazon, former Armed Forces Chief of Staff, stressed the need to emphasize further the supremacy of civilian authority over the military.

“By prohibiting a former military officer from being appointed within three years after relief from active duty, the position will be shielded from controversies arising from appointments, assignments, and other activities within the AFP,” Biazon said.

“By having no prior personal and professional relationships with the officers, the Secretary of National Defense would be more objective and impartial in policy formulation and determination,” Biazon added.

The prohibition shall also afford the former military officer sufficient time to adapt to civilian life, according to Biazon.

Among the former military officers who lived a civilian life for several years before serving as the Secretary of National Defense were the late President Ramon Magsaysay (Sept. 1, 1950 to Feb. 28, 1953 and January to May 1954); Macario Peralta Jr. (1962-65); Rafael M. Ileto (1986-1988), and Voltaire T. Gazmin (July 1, 2010 to present).