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Continuity as Marcos gives key posts to pro-admin people

FORMER SENATE president Juan F. Ponce Enrile

By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

Philippine President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., has named more Cabinet members, including a former military official who helped organize a mutiny that ousted Mr. Marcos’s father, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, in 1986.

Former senate president Juan Ponce F. Enrile, 98, will serve as Mr. Marcos’ presidential legal counsel, the latter’s camp said in a press release.

Mr. Enrile, a lawyer, was the defense chief of the older Marcos from 1972 to 1986.

The supposed ambush on Mr. Enrile’s convoy in 1972 was among the reasons cited by the older Marcos for his declaration of Martial Law, which enabled the arrests and deaths of thousands of activists and citizens.

He also served as Finance chief from 1966 to 1968 and Justice chief from 1968 to 1970.

“I will devote my time and knowledge for the republic and for BBM because I want him to succeed,” said Mr. Enrile, who has backtracked on his stance on Martial Law years after it was scrapped by a popular uprising.

Mr. Marcos has also tapped outgoing Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra to head the Office of the Solicitor General, whose main task is to defend the state in the legal arena.

Mr. Guevarra, who started practicing law as early as 1986, was appointed Justice chief by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in 2018. Before holding his current post, he was Mr. Duterte’s deputy executive secretary.

Mr. Guevarra was among the few Duterte officials who openly rejected the practice of tagging activists and ordinary people as communists.

Meanwhile, the Marcos camp said Retired General Jose Faustino Jr. will serve at the Department of National Defense as senior undersecretary and officer-in-charge until he becomes its secretary in November.

“Faustino is being tapped as Senior Undersecretary and Officer-In-Charge of DND, a post he would later assume as Secretary on Nov. 13, 2022, in compliance with the one-year ban on the appointment of retired military officers,” the press release read.

As Defense chief, Mr. Faustino will play key roles in defending Philippine-claimed areas in the South China Sea.

Mr. Marcos is widely seen as a continuity president, picking up from where Mr. Duterte left off.

Mr. Guevarra and Mr. Faustino were appointed to key posts under the current administration, while Mr. Enrile has openly backed some of the key policies of Mr. Duterte.

Mr. Marcos will take his oath as the 17th President of the Philippines on June 30.

On that day, activists and victims of his father’s martial rule are expected to march on major streets in the capital Manila.

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