Palace: Faustino out; Carlito Galvez is new defense chief
(Updated 5:15 p.m. to include backgrounder)
MANILA, Philippines — Department of National Defense officer-in-charge Jose Faustino Jr. has resigned from his post, and Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. has been appointed as the new defense chief.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. accepted Faustino’s resignation and offered the position to Galvez, who accepted, according to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).
“It is with deep regret that the President has accepted the resignation of DND OIC Sr. Usec. Jose Faustino Jr.,” PCO officer-in-charge Cheloy Garafil said in a statement.
“The President has offered the position of DND Secretary to Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. and he has accepted,” she added.
Malacañang has yet to give information on Faustino’s reason for resigning
Faustino’s short term
After serving as the 10th chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the Duterte administration, Faustino Jr. stepped down on November 12 due to reaching the obligatory retirement age of 56.
When Mr. Marcos designated Faustino in June as Defense secretary, he was limited to his role as senior undersecretary and officer in command of the Department of National Defense (DND) due to a one-year appointment limitation on retired military personnel.
Following the one-year ban, he was required to remain in this role until he officially took over on November 13 of this year.
No announcement from Malacañang was made regarding his appointment as defense secretary. And that’s not even counting the fact that the AFP has been lacking a vice chief of staff, a flag officer in command of the navy, and a commander of both the Southern Luzon and Western Mindanao Commands for quite some time.
Destabilization murmurs circulated widely in AFP and PNP online forums on Saturday that allegedly stemmed from a dispute in the new system of ranking officials following the replacement of chief of staff Lt. General Bartolome Bacarro, Marcos’ choice to succeed Centino as military chief in August 2022, by Gen. Andres Centino recently.
“The supposed reason for the squabbles is Republic Act No. 11709, a law enacted by former President Rodrigo Duterte in April last year that, among others, set a fixed term of three years for eight of the most senior AFP officers, including the chief of staff and the commanders of the Army, Air Force and Navy,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro said.
“It seems that the law is creating tensions or divisions within the military, as some members may feel that they have been passed over for promotion or that the selection process was unfair,” she added.
Galvez, who served as the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during the Duterte administration, played a crucial role in ending the five-month Marawi City siege in 2017.
Soon after he retired from the AFP, then-President Duterte appointed Galvez as the chief implementer of the now-defunct National Task Force Against COVID-19 and later as vaccine czar.