NEWLY installed Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. called on all members of the Department of National Defense (DND) to “stay in place” amid the reported mass resignations among its officials.

In a statement on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, the DND said Galvez met with the department’s Executive Committee and heads of the DND bureaus where they presented a formal report on the way forward and 10-point agenda initiated by resigned DND officer-in-charge retired general Jose Faustino Jr.

Galvez told them that they will sustain the gains of the past secretaries and will also further enhance the capability of the country’s national defense.

“He also emphasized the importance of employee morale in the DND and professionalism in the Armed Forces of the Philippines in maintaining the trust and confidence of the Filipino people,” the DND said.

Galvez also met with Faustino, who briefed him on the different accomplishments of the department along with his recommendations to ensure continuity in their operations.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. administered Galvez’s oath on Monday, January 9, 2023, at the Malacañang.

Faustino said he resigned from post on Friday, January 6, after learning only through news and social media reports about the oathtaking of General Andres Centino as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Malacañang denied Faustino’s claim, saying he was aware of the AFP’s leadership development.

Earlier, DND spokesperson Director Arsenio Andolong said around seven to nine coterminous officials have resigned along with Faustino as a courtesy to the incoming DND secretary.

These incidents worsened speculations about the alleged destabilization movement in the AFP, which is being directly supervised by the DND.

The DND, AFP and the Philippine National Police denied the destabilization reports, which were fueled by a memo allegedly released by a police unit indicating that the headquarters shifted to a higher alert status due to the destabilization movement in the military following the sudden change of leadership.

Reiterating that the destabilization reports were not true, AFP spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar said in a television interview that there is no need for an investigation on the matter.

“There’s no need for an investigation inside the Armed Forces of the Philippines because even after or during the change of command ceremony, we did not even raise our alert level. We maintained the alert level because everything was normal within the organization,” he added.

“We know that officers come and go, and therefore, we have to follow the chain of command always to make sure that the organization is united and that we are able to perform our mandate and our mission,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)