RESIGNED Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge (OIC) Senior Undersecretary Jose C. Faustino Jr. was informed about the re-appointment of General Andres Centino as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil said Tuesday, January 10, 2023.

“The President as the commander-in-chief has the sole prerogative to appoint the AFP chief of staff,” she said in a statement.

“According to Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, former DND OIC Jose Faustino Jr. knew of the developments with regard to the appointment of Gen. Andres Centino, who is the only four-star general in the AFP,” she added.

On Monday, January 9, Malacañang announced the appointment of Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. as the new DND secretary following the resignation of Faustino.

Faustino said Tuesday, January 10, that he submitted his irrevocable resignation to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday, January 6, after learning only through news and social media reports that Centino already took his oath of office earlier the day at the Malacañang.

Centino took over the office the following day, January 7, during a turnover of command ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

He replaced Lieutenant General Bartolome Bacarro, a medal of valor awardee, who assumed the top military position on August 8, 2022.

Malacañang did not give any explanation or reason for the sudden change of leadership in the AFP.

Bacarro was supposed to end his tour of service as the AFP chief of staff in 2025 in accordance to Republic Act (RA) 11709, which mandates the three-year fix term for the AFP chief of staff; vice chief of staff; deputy chief of staff; commanding generals of the Philippine Army, Air Force and Navy; Unified Command commanders; and the inspector general.

Amid the ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo, reports about an alleged destabilization movement in the AFP and mass resignation in the DND had surfaced but these were immediately shut off and denied by the concerned offices.

The DND said around seven to nine coterminous officials have resigned along with Faustino as a courtesy to the incoming DND secretary. (SunStar Philippines)