Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and outgoing Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra have joined the incoming administration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as Presidential Legal Counsel and Solicitor General, respectively.
Press Secretary-designate Rose Beatrix Cruz-Angeles also revealed that Marcos has designated retired Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. as senior undersecretary and officer-in-charge of the Department of National Defense.
Faustino will later assume the DND Secretary’s post on Nov. 13, 2022, in compliance with the one-year ban on the appointment of retired military officers under Republic Act 6975.
Angeles said Enrile will re-enter public service as presidential legal counsel, six years after announcing his retirement from politics in 2016.
Enrile, a staunch supporter of Marcos and Vice President-elect Sara Duterte during the 2022 elections, reaffirmed his commitment to serve the country and ensure the success of the incoming government.
The 98-year-old statesman has served in the government in various capacities for the past 50 years, including interim secretary of Finance from 1966 to 1968, secretary of Justice from 1968 to 1970, and minister of National Defense from 1972 to 1986.
He served four terms in the Senate, where he also became the 21st Senate President during the 15th Congress from 2008 to 2013.
Guevarra, the outgoing Justice secretary, has accepted the nomination as Solicitor General-designate during his meeting with Marcos on Thursday.
Confirming his acceptance of the post, Guevarra said: “Ten years ago, I was offered both the SOJ [Secretary of Justice] and OSG [Office of the Solicitor General] positions. Maybe the time wasn’t ripe then. Now everything’s coming back to me. It’s the hand of God at work. Ecclesiastes.”
Guevarra admitted he would have preferred to take the Solicitor General position then.
“Honestly, yes. The SOJ is very high-profile and has more administrative work, supervising many attached agencies. The Solgen position, I thought, better suited me because I had been in law firm practice for 25 years.”
“I intend to stick to the role of the OSG as the defender of the republic and tribune of the people,” he said.
Guevarra graduated magna cum laude majoring in Political Science from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1974.
He obtained his Master’s in Economics from the University of the Philippines and worked at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) from 1977 to 1983. He received his Bachelor of Laws degree from the Ateneo and placed second in the 1985 Bar exams.
Guevarra began private law practice in 1986 and started teaching at his alma mater Ateneo in 1990 as part of the Law School faculty, specializing in civil law, criminal law, and administrative litigation.
Before being appointed as ad interim Justice Secretary in 2018, Guevarra was the Deputy Executive Secretary of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Angeles said Faustino, who served as the 56th Chief of Staff of the AFP until his mandatory retirement last Nov. 12, 2021, and the incoming National Security Adviser, retired UP professor Clarita Carlos, met with Marcos on Thursday.
Faustino, a graduate of the “Maringal” Class of 1988, is a Mindanao veteran who has served under the special forces, infantry, and intelligence posts.
He was also the commander of the Joint Task Force Mindanao and was a commanding general of the Philippine Army before being appointed AFP chief of staff.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he is confident that Faustino is capable of continuing the gains achieved by the agency in its various initiatives.
“I am confident that with his years of dedicated service as a military officer, General Faustino will continue the Department’s momentum in our internal security and external defense operations, as well as the modernization of the Armed Forces and the entire defense organization,” he said.
The incoming press secretary said the recent nominations made by Marcos highlight his commitment to encouraging economic development and inclusive growth, as he has vowed to prioritize agriculture, health care, education, infrastructure development, digital infrastructure, job creation, and renewable energy.