SECRETARY Delfin Lorenzana will keep his post at the Defense department after former DND chief Gilbert Teodoro declined President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer of a second term as Defense secretary.
Thus, Lorenzana will no longer be the country’s ambassador to Washington, as earlier reported.
“I don’t really have a choice right now. Gibo really washed his hands of government service,” Duterte told a press briefing early Thursday morning.
“Maybe, ‘disenchanted’ would be the word. You know, he ran for president,” the President added.
In a speech Tuesday, Duterte said he wanted Teodoro to take over the Defense department, since he never hid his admiration for him. The problem of who to appoint as Philippine ambassador to the United States was raised in the Cabinet.
The President then in jest appointed Lorenzana, his newly named Defense chief as ambassador.
Teodoro was the secretary of national defense of former President Gloria Arroyo from August 2007 until November 2009.
Shortly after Duterte won the presidency, Teodoro visited him at the Presidential resthouse in Panacan, Davao City but rejected his offer of a Cabinet post for personal reasons.
Lorenzana, meanwhile, who was the special presidential representative of the Office of Philippine Veterans Affairs in the United States before he accepted Duterte’s offer to be Defense chief, had expressed his wish to stay in the country and retire following his long service overseas.
“[Lorenzana] told me that he believed the appointment to Washington was an order, but he said that he’s too old. He said that since he’s already old, he wanted to stay in the country. That is the dream of every [retiree],” the President added.
Lorenzana, a member of the PMA Class 1973, was a high school classmate of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, a trusted friend of the President in Parang, Cotabato, and was the 601st Brigade Commander in Malungon, Sarangani in 2000.
Duterte said he is still looking for an ambassador to Washington, with which the Philippines has “strong, enduring ties.”