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Ex-AFP chief gets undersecretary post in Aquino's office

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MANILA, Philippines - Former Armed Forces chief Emmanuel Bautista has been appointed as a new undersecretary in the office of President Benigno Aquino III, Malacañang said Tuesday.

At a televised press briefing, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Bautista will be designated as executive director of the security, justice and peace cluster of the Aquino Cabinet.

Under Executive Order 43, Coloma said the Security Cluster "shall ensure the preservation of national sovereignty and the rule of law, focus on the protection and promotion of human rights and the pursuit of a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace."

Coloma said Bautista will be coordinating with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, who remains the chair of the security council.

With the retired general's experience in the military, Coloma said Bautista is expected to give important inputs to security matters including the West Philippine Sea dispute.

"Naniniwala ang Pangulo na siya ay may kapasidad na magbigay ng mahalagang ambag sa pamamagitan ng kanyang kaalaman hinggil sa security situation," Coloma said of Bautista.

Bautista, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, served as the Armed Forces chief of staff from January 2013 until his retirement last July.

He was also a commanding general of the Philippine Army and assumed several other positions in the service.

As the military's deputy chief of staff for operations, Bautista led the formulation of the Aquino government's counter-insurgency campaign, the Internal Peace and Security Plan or "Oplan Bayanihan."

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