PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. on Thursday said he is not rushing to appoint secretaries for health and defense, noting that he is satisfied with the performance of the temporary heads of the two departments.
“We just go to the process,” he told reporters when asked for updates on completing his Cabinet members.
Aside from the Department of Defense (DND) and Department of Health (DoH), the Office of the Press Secretary is also headed by an officer-in-charge.
“We don’t have a nominee for DoH yet. Usec. [Maria Rosario S.] Vergeire is doing a fine job,” the president said. Ms. Vergeire was designated officer-in-charge weeks after Mr. Marcos took office in June.
He said he is also “happy with the situation [in the DND] as it is now.”
The Defense department leads the country’s military force as well as the Office of the Civil Defense, which is tasked to oversee the country’s disaster management and response programs.
Former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Jose C. Faustino, Jr. is the DND’s officer-in-charge.
Mr. Marcos, who won in the May national and local elections, said changes may still happen in 2023.
“These things are revisited especially every year… at the end of the first year,” he said. “I don’t think that’s any — that’s a secret to anyone that at the end of the first year, the other candidates, they will now join the mix of possible nominees.”
The Philippine Constitution prohibits the appointment of a losing candidate to any government office or state-owned corporation within one year from the election. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza