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Esperon sad to see namesake go, welcomes new defense chief

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 06:26pm (Mla time) 06/30/2007

MANILA, Philippines — While he is sad to see his namesake go, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. welcomed the appointment of outgoing Tarlac Representative Gilbert Teodoro as defense secretary, as announced by Malacañang on Saturday.

Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., who handled the defense portfolio for nearly five months, will return to his old position at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales will be concurrent defense secretary until Teodoro’s appointment takes effect on August 3, the Palace said.

Esperon said he knew of the shake-up at the Department of National Defense (DND) before the Palace announcement.

“I am a little sad, though it’s quite personal, we are both [named] Hermogenes. He’s my team leader, our wives are friends, we have been friends for a long time,” Esperon said in a phone interview.

Esperon said his namesake worked “quietly but effectively” since he assumed as defense secretary last February 1.

Esperon said Teodoro’s background at the House of Representatives is a “plus factor” for the military. He also noted that the nephew of business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco is a reservist Air Force colonel.

“His experience in Congress will surely benefit the AFP because we have some legislative advocacy also…Even when he was still in Congress, he has been talking to us. He’s very respectful, very wholesome,” the military chief said.

Esperon saw he saw Teodoro in action when he was assigned commander of the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division, whose area of responsibility includes Tarlac province.

At that time, Esperon said Teodoro supervised relief efforts for victims of floods due to a collapsed dike.

Esperon said he saw no problem with Gonzales temporarily taking over the defense department. He said the AFP’s Capability Upgrade Program (CUP), as well as the 2010 target to wipe out the communist insurgency, remain on track.

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Written by joelguinto

Sat+00:002007-06-30T11:40:29+00:00+00:0006b+00:00Sat, 30 Jun 2007 11:40:29 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am06

Posted in Uncategorized

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