Philippine defense execs quit

MANILA, Philippines, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Seven senior officials in the Philippine Department of National Defense have resigned their posts in the wake of the earlier resignation of Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr.

The Philippine Star said the seven - four undersecretaries and three assistant secretaries - had originally been appointed by Cruz, and the government said their leaving did not signify turmoil in the DND.


"It's (the resignations) not unusual, they are co-terminus with the principle," a spokesman said.

Presidential Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would appoint temporary replacements for those leaving.

The defense secretary, Cruz, submitted his resignation recently amid dissension in the Cabinet over his opposition to a controversial initiative to amend the national constitution to replace a bicameral legislature with a unicameral one.

President Arroyo has announced she will temporarily hold the DND portfolio.

Cruz, who has served for two years, is credited with implementing a number of military reforms. He will officially leave his post once the final draft of a Status of Forces agreement with Australia is completed.

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