Five Philippine Presidents including President Duterte gathered today as he called for an emergency National Security Council (NSC) meeting at Malacañang. The four former Presidents, namely Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Benigno Aquino III, held the office from 1992-2016, respectively.
The NSC is where Duterte aimed to “agree on vital policies and strategies” on certain matters, particularly on the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling on the West Philippine Sea, the road map for peace and development, and the nation’s war against illegal drugs.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, along with Senators Loren Legarda and Antonio Trillanes, has been appointed as vice-chair of the Senate committee on national defense and security, and lauded the President for summoning the NSC for this meeting. “Convening the National Security Council is one first right move that any president facing some complex security problems emanating from external and internal threats that our country is facing should take,” he said.
There are 35 members of the NSC, all of whom are leader-members from the executive and legislative branches of the government. Among them are Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, majority and minority leaders of both Houses of Congress, chairs of Senate and House committees concerned with national security, and some members of the Cabinet.
The meeting, which was scheduled for 3 PM, was held shortly after John Kerry, US State Secretary, paid a courtesy visit to the President.