Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Sunday hailed Malacañang and the defense establishment for upholding the rule of law in naming a new commanding general for the Philippine Army.
Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, and is Vice Chairman of the Committee on National Defense of the Commission on Appointments, said the appointment of Maj. Gen. Andres Centino to replace Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. complies with Section 4 of Republic Act 8186.
Lacson first raised the issue last March at the Commission on Appointments, when he noted Faustino was designated Army chief in February. Faustino is to retire upon reaching the retirement age of 56 in November.
“I thank and commend Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for rectifying an oversight in appointing Lt. Gen. Faustino, and for their adherence to Section 4 of RA 8186. Under the said law, Lt. Gen. Faustino is not eligible to head a major service command of the AFP as he has less than one year of active service remaining prior to reaching the age of compulsory retirement,” he said.
“That said, let me repeat what I said last March when I brought up the issue at the Commission on Appointments: I have nothing against Lt. Gen. Faustino. While he may be considered the most competent, he is not qualified because there’s a law saying he’s not qualified. Between the memorandum issued by the Executive Secretary and the law, it is the law that should take precedence,” he added.
Under Sec. 4 of RA 8186, “except for the Chief of Staff of the AFP, no officer shall be assigned/designated to the aforementioned key positions (including major service commanders) or promoted to the rank of Brigadier General/Commodore or higher if he has less than one (1) year of active service remaining prior to compulsory retirement.”