Press Release
September 13, 2023

'Brilliant man, no issues of corruption'

Senate President Juan Miguel 'Migz' Zubiri on Wednesday applauded the confirmation of Gilberto Teodoro Jr. as Secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND), vouching for the Defense chief's integrity and capability.

"It will be an honor for me to second the confirmation of Secretary Gilbert Teodoro as Secretary of the Department of National Defense, a position that this gentleman has honorably served in the past," Zubiri said in plenary during the confirmation of Teodoro by the congressional Commission on Appointments (CA).

"His impressive academic and military records, diplomacy and integrity, as well as unquestionable dedication in protecting the interests of the Filipino people, make him more than qualified once again to take over the position of Secretary of National Defense," the Senate chief added.

Teodoro's confirmation came amid rising tension in the West Philippine Sea, with the Chinese ships' dangerous maneuvers to block Philippine ships from carrying out resupply missions in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal drawing condemnation from senators and assurances of a higher defense budget.

"I would like to say that his appointment came at a very opportune time, not only in addressing the issues of internal security threats, but also, above all, the external threats with the heightening tensions in the West Philippine Sea," Zubiri stressed.

Zubiri spoke highly of Teodoro, who also previously served as defense secretary during the Arroyo administration, saying he has known him for more than three decades.

"Secretary Gibo is like a brother to me, his wife is like my sister. I've known him for over 30 years, even before we were in public service and we were batchmates in the 11th, 12th and 13th Congress," said the Senate President.

"The 11th Congress, which created two Presidents, several senators, three Speakers and several secretaries, one of them is my distinguished brother here today," he continued.

The Senate President also praised Teodoro's legal and legislative acumen, saying he worked with him on so many important pieces of legislation in the past.

"If we wanted to correct a legal problem in our bill, Gibo Teodoro then was the go-to guy in Congress to be able to amend... to improve the version of legislation," Zubiri explained.

Earlier, during the confirmation hearing, Zubiri also extolled Teodoro's integrity, noting that he was never involved in corruption issues.

"When it comes to his reputation, I can tell you this nominee has never been besmirched in any category. He has no issues of corruption. He is a brilliant man. He is a bar topnotcher," Zubiri said during the CA hearing earlier in the day.

Teodoro first served as Defense Secretary in 2007 and ended his stint at the department in 2009. At the time, he was the youngest to ever hold the post.

As defense chief, Teodoro led the implementation of the AFP Modernization Program and spearheaded operations to rescue kidnapped volunteers of the International Committee of the Red Cross by members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in January 2009.

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