AFP chief Faustino starts farewell tour
MANILA, Philippines—Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. has started a series of farewell tours ahead of his retirement in two weeks.
Faustino on Wednesday (Oct. 27) visited the Davao City-based Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), the regional military unit that had been a launching pad for many military chiefs of the Duterte administration.
The AFP chief visited the Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City, which is under Eastmincom jurisdiction, on the same day to lead a ceremonial “demilitarization” of confiscated and surrendered firearms.
Faustino, the 10th AFP chief of President Rodrigo Duterte, is set to retire on Nov. 12, after serving a little over three months. He is the third AFP chief in this year alone.
He was named acting Army chief in February, but was relieved in May after Sen. Panfilo Lacson raised qualification issues, saying Faustino’s appointment violated a rule requiring chiefs of major services to have at least a year remaining in service on the day of his assumption. The position of AFP chief is exempt from that rule. Faustino is turning 56, the mandatory retirement age, on Nov. 12.
Faustino served as special assistant to the chief of staff for peace and development—a newly-created position—after he was relieved as Army chief and until he was named AFP chief in late July.
The revolving door policy has long been a dilemma in the armed forces and not just under Duterte. On average, an AFP chief under the Duterte administration served for only six months.
Eduardo Año, now interior secretary, served the longest tenure as AFP chief under Duterte–over 10 months.
The next AFP chief to be appointed by Duterte could be the last until the President ends his term in 2022. Faustino’s successor to lead the 140,000-strong armed forces has yet to be announced.
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