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Esperon will be ‘honored’ to serve as DND chief

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 20:43:00 04/18/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Military Chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said he would be “honored” to handle the defense portfolio, even as he acknowledged that talk of his replacing Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. was “purely speculative.”

“The matter of serving at the Cabinet is entirely the President’s prerogative so I would be honored but then I would not impose myself,” Esperon told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo Friday.

Asked if he would accept position of defense secretary if it was offered to him, Esperon said: “I’ll have to, if it calls for action, then I should act on that, as of now purely speculative. If there is no offer, I won’t even want to comment on that.”

Esperon, one of President Gloria Macapagal-Aroyo’s most loyal generals, will retire on May 9, when his three-month term extension expires.

Teodoro has served as defense secretary for nine months. He took over the department in August 2007.

Asked to comment on Teodoro’s statement that he would make a good defense secretary, Esperon said: “As far as I’m concerned he is one of the best.”

Esperon said remaining in government service after he retires from the military was an “option,” but he would like to visit his family abroad or go on vacation immediately after his retirement.

The military chief also said he would finish writing his book on counter-terrorism.

“That is part of our options, because 56 years old gives you a lot of time before you really want to be by yourself or before you are incapacitated,” he said. With Camille Diola, contributor

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2008-04-18T14:14:13+00:00UTC04bUTCFri, 18 Apr 2008 14:14:13 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm04

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