Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon is opposed to the President's decision to appoint a former military officer to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), citing the agency's important role in the delivery of basic government services.
Hence, Drilon said the administration of the agency should be left to career officials.
President Duterte announced army chief Lieutenant General Rolando Bautista will become his next social welfare and development secretary.
"The President should reconsider his decision to appoint a retired military officer as DSWD secretary. The DSWD is a very sensitive and crucial social welfare agency," Drilon said in an interview with DZBB on Sunday.
"We should not militarize the government. We should maintain the civilian nature of our bureaucracies," Drilon said.
While he acknowledges that it is a prerogative of the President to choose and appoint top government officials, Drilon said the DSWD plays a very important role in the government's poverty alleviation program, citing the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program as a major program being implemented by DSWD.
"I am certain there are those from the civilian sector who are equally, if not more qualified and competent, to hold government positions, particularly the DSWD," Drilon said.
At present, there are numerous retired miltary officers occupying key government posts, including former Armed Forces chiefs of staff Roy Cimatu as Environment and Natural Resources secretary, Eduardo Año as Interior and Local Government secretary, and Ricardo Visaya as head of the National Irrigation Administration. Other former miltary officials are also appointed to government posts such as Delfin Lorenzana as defense secretary and Danilo Lim and Alexander Balutan as chairman of Metro Manila Develoment Authority and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, respectively.
Drilon said there are other government posts the President can offer to qualified military officers.
He recalled the appointment of active military officers to civilian posts was a practice during martial law days but was later on prohibited because of the danger of militarizing the bureaucracy.