Manila Standard : Marcos names next BIR, NICA chiefs

19 June 2022

By Joel E. Zurbano | Manila Standard

President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has named the head of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and two other nominees for the top posts in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) who will serve under his administration.

In a press statement on Saturday, Press Secretary-designate Trixie Cruz-Angeles said Marcos nominated retired Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy director General Ricardo de Leon as NICA Director General-designate.

De Leon, as NICA chief, will become part of Marcos’ security cluster joining other officials from the departments of Defense, Local Government, Foreign Affairs, and Justice; the Armed Forces of the Philippines; the PNP; and the National Bureau of Investigation,Cruz-Angeles said.

Meanwhile, former BIR deputy commissioner Lilia Guillermo has been tapped to lead the country’s leading tax collection agency, Cruz-Angeles said.

She said Guillermo’s track record makes her qualified to serve as BIR Commissioner-designate. Guillermo currently serves as an assistant governor at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“Guillermo’s strong background in Information Technology (IT) and her almost four decades of service at the BIR complements President-elect Marcos’ objective of boosting the country’s revenue through efficient tax collection,” she said.

Cruz-Angeles said Guillermo will be joined by Lawyer Romeo Lumagui Jr. who will serve as the BIR Deputy Commissioner for Operations-designate under the Marcos administration.

Lumagui, Cruz-Angeles said, is a tax lawyer “with decades of experience who once served as the Regional Investigation Division Chief of Revenue Region No. 7B East NCR.”

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson said he is confident retired general Jose Faustino Jr. is qualified to be the next Department of National Defense (DND) secretary under the incoming administration.

Marcos designated Faustino as Senior Undersecretary and Officer-in-Charge of the DND, a post he would later assume as Secretary on Nov. 13, 2022, in compliance with the one-year ban on the appointment of retired military officers.

Faustino’s situation, according to Cruz-Angeles, was similar to current Interior Secretary Eduardo Año’s case, whom President Rodrigo Duterte designated as officer-in-charge but who later assumed the Secretary position once the appointment ban lapsed.

“Having capped his career as the AFP Chief of Staff easily qualifies Gen. Faustino as the next Secretary of National Defense in November, in consideration of the one-year ban on the appointment of newly retired AFP officers under RA 11709,” said Lacson in a statement.

De Leon, meanwhile, is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Matatag” Class of 1971.

He currently serves as the president of the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC), which is the premier educational institution for the training, human resource development, and continuing education of all police, fire, and jail personnel.

Guillermo is cited for the successful implementation of the Philippines Tax Computerization Project, which established a modern t0ax collection system for the BIR and the Bureau of Customs.

She also heads the BSP Technology and Digital Innovation Office and manages the BSP’s IT Modernization Roadmap for 2018-2033.

On Thursday, Marcos also named former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, outgoing Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, and Faustino Jr. as his new appointees to his Cabinet.

Enrile will serve as Marcos’ Presidential Legal Counsel, Guevarra as Solicitor General, and Faustino as OIC of the DND.