Marcos breaks silence on AFP, DND revamp
DAVOS — The commander-in-chief has exercised his discretion to fix seniority ranking in order to boost morale at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) amid talk of unrest among the troops.
This was how President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. explained the rationale behind his decision to bring Gen. Andres Centino back as AFP chief of staff, replacing Lt. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro.
This reappointment of a retiring general (Centino is about to retire on Feb. 4 this year under the old law) cut short the term of Bacarro, who had assumed command of the AFP only in August last year and was supposed to be the first AFP chief to enjoy a fixed three-year term. It was a move that baffled some people who were kept out of the loop, including recently resigned National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos.
“We are rationalizing seniority. Andy Centino has four stars and Bob Bacarro had three stars,” Marcos said in a brief huddle on Sunday with journalists aboard the presidential plane en route to Switzerland, where he will attend the World Economic Forum meetings.
“So we need to fix it because it’s causing jitters among those at the bottom of the rankings,” he said.
Marcos explained for the first time why he had decided to pluck Centino out of retirement and cut short Bacarro’s term.
The president cited chatter about those with lower rank in the military losing hope for promotion if seniority succession would not be fixed.
“So that is not right. They will suffer from low morale,” he said. Upon consulting the military, he said this suggestion to fix seniority came about. “And that’s what we’ve done,” he said.
Asked about the resignation of Carlos as the national security adviser, Marcos said the retired political science professor had found the position to be a “little bit political” for which she was not cut out for. But he said Carlos would still be a big help as a consultant at the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department that House Speaker Martin Romualdez was building up.
On the other hand, the president suggested that Eduardo Año was a suitable successor to Carlos.
“He has a long, long, long experience in intelligence. Before he became chief of staff, he became group commander. He was [chief of] ISAFP (Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines). So he is well-versed,” he said.
“He’s well-known and he knows all of the operatives in the intelligence community.”
Marcos also explained his choice of Carlito Galvez Jr., another former chief of staff, as the new secretary of the Department of Defense (DND) following the resignation of the officer in charge, Jose Faustino Jr.
“[He is] very, very experienced and in fact, as soon as he took his oath, he knew already what to do. He immediately conducted a command conference. So I think he’ll slide into that position really easily.”
To fill the void at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp), Marcos said Galvez would play an important role in coming up with a short list of his potential successor.
Now that the Bangsamoro is in transition and relationship is being redefined, Marcos said, “It’s very critical that we have a good person in Opapp who can continue with the work that Johnny Galvez did.”
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Ex-DILG chief Eduardo Año replaces Clarita Carlos as Nat’l Security Adviser
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