Lorenzana wants Año’s AFP service extended
Forty days before reaching the mandatory retirement age, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Año made a fresh pitch for fixed terms for top military officers.
Año stressed he was not seeking an extension of his military service since President Rodrigo Duterte had already announced he would be named interior secretary upon his retirement.
Rising through ranks
“I think that is only appropriate to enable junior officers to rise [through] the ranks,” Año said at a ceremony of the AFP Educational Benefit System Office on Friday.
Año said the Constitution required military personnel to retire at age 56 and that he had to abide by the requirement.
He suggested, however, that Congress pass a law fixing a term for the AFP chief of staff, major service commanders and unified area commanders.
He explained that the retirement age of 56 deprived the country of the experience and maturity of ranking military officials.
“It’s such a waste. They’re younger compared to (military officers in) other countries who [remain] in the service until they are 60 or 65 years old,” the AFP chief of staff pointed out.
He nevertheless expressed confidence that his successor would continue his plans and programs, including the transformation roadmap.
3 vying for AFP chief
Año will recommend to Mr. Duterte at least three names of three-star generals, among whom the President will choose the next AFP chief of staff.
A member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983, Año’s military service spans 34 years, highlighted by the arrest of Communist Party of the Philippines chair Benito Tiamson and his wife Wilma in 2014, and the 2015 killing of New People’s Army leader Leoncio Pitao, better known as Commander Parago.
He was also commander of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when fugitive general Jovito Palparan was arrested in 2014.
‘Very good officer’
“He is a very good officer,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said of Año during a graduation ceremony of the National Defense College, also on Friday.
“He is very good, very professional. He knows what he is doing. He is very firm, broad-minded and a profound thinker. He is the example of a general,” said Lorenzana, himself a retired major general.
“If I had my way, I would extend him in the military. But the President said he [needed] him (Año) for another job,” Lorenzana added.