Co-Sponsorship Speech at the Commission on Appointments

Mr. Chairman, it is my honor and privilege to second the motion of the distinguished committee chairman from the great province of Cavite for the confirmation of AFP Brigadier General Henry Doyaoen’s promotion to the rank of Major General – but likewise to raise a significant point which is relevant to the nominee’s confirmation today.

Exactly one year from today or on 17 May 2022, Brig. Gen. Doyaoen is due for compulsory retirement in accordance with Presidential Decrees 1638 and 1650. Any delay in the confirmation of his nomination later than today would disqualify him from being promoted to the next high rank of Major General, in so far as the provision of Section 4, Republic Act 8186 is concerned, which states that – let me quote for the record, “except for the Chief of Staff of the AFP, no officer shall be assigned/designated to the aforementioned position – the word aforementioned hereby refers to the positions of Vice Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, and 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.”

There is no doubt in my mind that Brig. Gen. Doyaoen, a decorated and battle-seasoned military officer for 33 long years, has exemplified competence and commitment to duty worthy of the AFP’s higher echelon of command. Our committee meeting earlier today merely affirmed his good credentials. Thus we decide to recommend to the plenary his confirmation in accordance with what the law and the Constitution so provide.

The confirmation today of his nomination makes a good case that this revered Commission, in the exercise of its mandate under the Constitution, is duty-bound to accord weight and respect to the President’s nominations and appointments. In my 17 long years as a senator and a good number of years as a member of the CA, I cannot quite remember this body convening on the first day of the resumption of our congressional sessions for the sole purpose of deliberating on the confirmation of one single officer of the AFP. That credit goes to the chairman of the Committee on National Defense, Hon. Luis “Jon-jon” Ferrer IV, and the members of the committee, for this unprecedented move.

Equally worth mentioning Mr. Chairman, Mr. President, if not more significant is that the President and Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces has accorded the CA the same respect and high regard in designating Maj. Gen. Andres Centino last May 14 as the new Commanding General of the Philippine Army to replace Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr.

For the record, last March during the hearing of this same committee to confirm now four-star Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, CSAFP, this representation strongly disputed the designation of Lt. Gen. Faustino as acting commanding general of the PA, one of the three major service commands of the AFP, as it was a clear transgression of the law. I was also forthright in saying that Lt. Gen. Faustino may have been the most competent officer to take over the reins of the 100,000-strong Philippine Army. His merits notwithstanding, unfortunately, he is not eligible to head a major service command of the AFP as he has less than one year of active service remaining before reaching the age of compulsory retirement.

To this end, Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the CA, let me express my sincere gratefulness to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for rectifying an oversight in the recent designation of Lt. Gen. Faustino as acting CGPA in violation of RA 8186 as amended by RA 9188. This appreciation extends to Executive Secretary Salvador “Bingbong” Medialdea, who personally relayed to me last Friday the concurrence of the President to this body’s strong and unwavering position to uphold the rule of law.

As members of this Commission, this is a welcome remark to all that we are in the right direction in fulfilling our mandate to scrutinize and pass upon presidential appointments and nominations pursuant to our constitutional mandate and the proper observance of the principles of checks and balances.

That said, Mr. Chairman and distinguished colleagues, I reiterate my second to your committee’s recommendation for this august body to give its consent to the nomination of AFP Brigadier General Henry Doyaoen to the rank of Major General.

I so move, Mr. Chairman.