In a press conference in Camp Aguinaldo, De Leon said that there is no issue of morale in the AFP.
“Let me give my assessment based on the turnout in this morning’s traditional joint DND New Year’s call. All the key commanders were there, including the key staff officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the DND civilian bureaus. So I think there is no issue with morale. The morale remains high. We are focused on our mandate,” De Leon said.
“Wala pong kailangang loyalty check (there is no need for a loyalty check). The AFP remains steadfast and loyal to the constitution, the flag, and the duly constituted authorities,” he added.
De Leon also noted that there is nothing unusual with the resignation of at least seven DND officials who were brought along by resigned defense secretary Jose Faustino when he was assigned to the post in 2022.
He said it served as courtesy to the incoming leadership, which is customary to any government offices.
The AFP held its traditional New Year’s Call with AFP Chief of Staff General Andres Centino at the AFP Commissioned Officers Country on Wednesday, January 11.
The event serves as an opportunity for the DND secretary and AFP chief of staff to highlight the organizations’ accomplishments over the past year as well as to reaffirm their commitment to the flag and country.
It is also a venue for the top defense and military leaders to convey their message and guidance for the coming year.
Military commanders from the Army, Air Force and Navy as well as chiefs of offices, senior staff officers, and senior enlisted personnel, together with their spouses attended the event.
Also present were defense attachés and officials from the General Headquarters civilian human resources department.
De Leon represented newly installed Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., who was with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as he visited the Misamis Occidental to inspect the devastation caused by torrential rains over the past weeks.
“The new leadership in the AFP and the DND shall represent a renewed commitment to unity. In ensuring the cohesiveness and professionalism of our institutions while serving as role models to the subordinates following us, we fortify the relationship of our soldiers to their units and enhance the formidable foundation upon which the legacy of the AFP is built upon,” Centino said as he led the traditional toast.
The AFP and DND was riddled with destabilization and mass resignation speculations following the sudden change of leadership.
Marcos reassigned Centino as the chief of staff replacing Lieutenant General Bartolome Bacarro who was supposed to serve until 2025.
Subsequently, Faustino resigned from post saying he was not informed of the leadership change in the AFP, which the DND has direct supervision to. (SunStar Philippines)