Teodoro gets CA nod

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Teodoro gets CA nod
Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro sits with military officers during the hearing of the Commission on Appointments at the Senate yesterday.
Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed yesterday the ad interim appointment of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr., who raised concern over external threats through internal activities by taking control of the local economy and processes.

“It’s the activities that we cannot see like the entry of workers here who should do the work of our countrymen. That’s what’s worrying. It’s not just unfair for our countrymen, it’s a security risk because we have a problem monitoring them too, especially when they go in and out,” said Teodoro, apparently referring to the influx of Chinese workers in the country.

During deliberations of the CA committee on national defense, Teodoro was asked by Sen. Risa Hontiveros for his opinion on whether it would be better to utilize intelligence and confidential funds using the expertise of intelligence agencies and targeted toward external threats.

He said “civilian agencies with intelligence and confidential funds, there are two purposes – internal or anti-criminality and security and fusion of external threats through internal activities.

“First is for the agency’s internal, anti-criminal security and anti-scam… What we should know maybe now is that there is a fusion of external threats through internal activities that are dispersed,” Teodoro said. “We are still validating it, it has not been validated through different activities of society under the jurisdiction of different departments.”

“The best way to probably weaken a country rather than an overt warlike function or disruption of your facilities is really to take control of your internal economy, internal processes and the like. The intelligence and confidential funds of different agencies are also needed to watch over and suppress it,” he added.

Hontiveros also asked Teodoro for assurance that the country, not just America, would be given priority and benefits under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

“We will make sure that deal is in the best interest of our country and not lopsided. We have to be very vigilant in enforcing the Philippine interest first and foremost. This is a matter of calibration and arms-length negotiation,” he said.

The Department of National Defense secretary said they can “converge efforts in order to build a robust defense profile for our country in order to sustain our territorial integrity, our sovereignty and our reputation as a nation that can stand alone... which cannot be countered in the face of greater threats.”

Teodoro was first appointed as defense secretary during the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The CA panel approved his appointment along with the nominations and ad interim appointments of 11 generals and senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for plenary confirmation.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and all the other members of the CA had kind words for Teodoro, a Bar topnotcher and two-time defense secretary.

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