He previously served as Secretary of the Department of National Defense, where he brought a fresh civilian perspective to address the challenges faced by our country's defense and military establishments. He was widely credited for introducing fundamental, comprehensive, and institution-wide reforms through the Philippine Defense Reform program. His unblemished stint in public service and record of success in the defense department have become benchmarks upon which others who followed have been measured. Some of the groundbreaking reform initiatives started his leadership have become the foundation of wide-ranging public sector reforms currently being undertaken.
Mr. Cruz also previously served as Chief Presidential Legal Counsel in the Office of the President, where he provided strategic legal counsel to the President of the Republic of the Philippines on key policy issues. He oversaw inter-agency efforts in public policy litigation and international arbitration resulting in an unmatched record of success. He also reviewed and advised the President on appointments to the Executive and the Judiciary. On several occasions, Mr. Cruz served as Acting Executive Secretary, supervising the different departments of government.