Philippine Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz, one of President Gloria Arroyo’s most senior aides, suddenly tendered his resignation according to the presidential spokesman.

Secretary Cruz has submitted his resignation, but President Top of Form

Gloria Macapagal ArroyoBottom of Form is not taking any action,” presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said during the press conference.

The defense department confirmed Cruz submitted a letter of resignation to Arroyo during a brief meeting earlier in the day.

Cruz was not immediately available for a comment but reliable sources said he his resignation was “irrevocable”.

Cruz, a successful lawyer before he became part of cabinet, is overlooking the modernization of the armed forces, a project with major support from Manila’s important ally the United States.

The project is expected to enable the armed forces more capable in handling communist and Muslim separatist insurgencies.

He is also in charge in the prosecution of several military officers, including at least one general, undergoing trials for variety of reasons such as plotting a coup against Arroyo or facing corruption charges in the military supply contracts.

Cruz served as Arroyo’s chief legal counsel from January 2001 to January 2004 before he became the Defense Secretary.

Speculations about the reasons for his resignation abound in the local media. Among them is the fact that Cruz opposed Arroyo’s moves to amend the 1987 constitution through Cha-cha which would change existing presidential system of government to a parliamentary system.

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