MANILA – A ranking Department of National Defense (DND) official on Wednesday said they will honor Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.'s call for unity and decided to remain with the agency despite the leadership change.
"We all agreed that we stay, the senior leaders and assistant secretaries," DND Undersecretary for Capability Assessment and Development Angelito de Leon said in a press briefing shortly after the traditional New Year's Call held at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
De Leon, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1984, was appointed to his present post last July.
He also clarified that no resignation took place in the DND following the appointment of Galvez as its new secretary.
"Wala pong, gusto ko lang pong i-stress para po sa paguunawa ng lahat (There is none, I would like to stress for the benefit of everybody that) a courtesy resignation is a customary process, whenever there is a new head of the agency, the key officials will render their courtesy resignation for the purpose of giving a free hand to the newly designated head of the department, this is nothing extraordinary even in other agencies, moreso with the One Defense Team because kami po we value tradition so (it is) normal po yun," De Leon said.
He also added that it is up to Galvez on whether he will accept or reject their courtesy resignations.
"In the case of Secretary Galvez while we are ready with our courtesy resignation in accordance with customs, there is nothing extraordinary about it, he immediately gave the order, everybody stays put and hence nobody would resign or get out of DND, as manifested, we are intact," he said.
De Leon also said that there is no need for a loyalty check in the DND and even in the AFP which had a change of leadership recently after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. appointed Gen. Andres Centino to replace Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro as its chief last Jan. 6.
"Wala pong kailangang (there is no need for a) loyalty check, the AFP remains steadfast and loyal to the constitution, the flag and the duly constituted authorities," he added.
The AFP New Year’s Call was held jointly with the DND.
Military commanders from the Army, Air Force and Navy as well as chiefs of offices, senior staff officers, and senior enlisted personnel, together with their spouses attended the event.
Also present were defense attachés and officials from the General Headquarters civilian human resources department.
As one of the most cherished traditions observed and held annually by the AFP, the New Year’s Call served as an opportunity for the DND secretary and AFP chief to highlight the organization’s accomplishments in the past year as well as to reaffirm their commitment to the flag and country.
It is also a venue for the top defense and military leaders to convey their message and guidance for the coming year.
Centino led the traditional toast and enjoined every officer, enlisted personnel, and civilian human resource professional to be unified in embodying only the highest standards of excellence across all of the AFP’s mission areas.
"The new leadership in the AFP and the DND shall represent a renewed commitment to unity. In ensuring the cohesiveness and professionalism of our institutions while serving as role models to the subordinates following us, we fortify the relationship of our soldiers to their units and enhance the formidable foundation upon which the legacy of the AFP is built upon," he said. (PNA)