PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. explained on Sunday, January 16, 2023, the appointment of new key officials in the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Marcos said the re-appointment of General Andres Centino as the AFP chief of staff is part of the government’s effort to rationalize the seniority of officials.
“Kasi nira-rationalize namin ‘yung seniority (Because we are rationalizing the seniority)... Andy Centino has four stars and Bob Bacarro had three stars. So kailangan natin ayusin kasi magkakagulo doon sa baba So we need to fix it because there might be trouble in the lower ranks),” he said.
“So tiningnan namin, ‘What do you want us to do?’ Nagtanong kami sa military and I said ayusin namin ‘yung seniority and that’s what we’ve done,” he added.
(So we looked, 'What do you want us to do?' We asked the military and I said let's fix the seniority and that's what we've done.)
Centino earlier served as the AFP chief of staff from November 12, 2021 to August 8, 2022, when he was replaced by Lieutenant General Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, who was appointed by Marcos.
Bacarro’s term was cut short as he was supposed to serve until 2025 as mandated by Republic Act (RA) 11709, which provides a fixed three-year term for senior military officials.
Amid the turnover ceremony, reports of destabilization movement in the AFP and mass resignations in the DND surfaced, although it was immediately dismissed by concerned authorities.
Two days after Centino took over the post, the Malacañang announced the appointment of Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. as the new defense secretary following the resignation of officer-in-charge retired general Jose Faustino Jr.
Faustino said he resigned from post after learning only through news and social media reports the comeback and oath-taking of Centino, but the Malacañang maintained he was duly informed of the leadership development in the military.
Marcos vouched for Galvez’s capability to head the defense department.
He said he also sought the former peace adviser’s assistance in picking the next head of the OPAPRU.
The President also expressed confidence in the “long experience in intelligence” of former interior secretary Eduardo Año, who was appointed as the new national security adviser in replacement of resigned NSA Secretary Clarita Carlos, who will join the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) of the House of Representatives.
“Before he became chief of staff, before he became group commander, he was [with] ISAFP (Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines). So sanay na sanay ‘yun and he’s well-known, and he knows all of the operatives in the intelligence community,” said Marcos. (SunStar Philippines)