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Rody extends Guerrero’s term as AFP chief of staff

By Ted Tuvera
and Mario J. Mallari

President Duterte has extended the term of General Rey Leonardo Guerrero as Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque yesterday made the announcement 10 days before Guerrero’s supposed prescribed retirement.
Guerrero will serve six more months in the military.
“The Executive Secretary, by authority of the President, has signed yesterday, December 6, the extension of the service of Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Rey Leonardo Guerrero,” Guerrero said.
“AFP chief of staff General Guerrero will reach his age of compulsory retirement on December 17, 2017, and the President has extended his service to April 24, 2018, as per Republic Act 8186, or six months since he assumed office as AFP chief of staff,” he added.
Guerrero, who will turn 56 on December 17, assumed his post as AFP chief last October 26 after successfully leading government troops in the battle against Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute bandits in Marawi City.
RA 8186 allows the Commander in Chief to maximize the AFP chief’s term under circumstances such as martial law and if the country is under the state of national emergency.
Section 3 of the said law prescribes that the AFP Chief of Staff “may be allowed by the President of the Philippines to finish tenure in position as provided for in the Constitution.”
Top defense and security officials have hinted that the Commander in Chief is set to extend martial law in Mindanao to facilitate the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City and to avoid retaliation from IS sympathizers and stragglers.
While many were not surprised over Guerrero’s extension beyond retirement on December 17, retired and active members of the military believed that extending the term of retiring military officials is not healthy to the organization.
They cited the ill effects of the revolving door-policy adopted by former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo in selecting her AFP chiefs during her nine-year presidency.
Retired AFP officials maintained that while they have nothing against Guerrero as an officer, he could not really do much in just six months.
“That has been proven many times, it’s not healthy for the AFP,” a retired general told The Tribune.
“Even if General Guerrero is a very good officer, six months are just too short for him to deliver the goods for the AFP,” he added.
So far, Guerrero will be the first AFP and police general to be extended by Duterte. However, his two previous AFP chiefs, Ricardo Visaya and Eduardo Ano, both served less than one year.
“This revolving door-policy, as proven during the Arroyo administration, does not serve the AFP as an organization, instead it only weakens it as an institution,” another military source said.
For his part, Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP-Public Affairs Office chief, said that Guerrero was grateful to the President for the trust and confidence.
“This extension of the AFP chief’s military service will allow him more time to implement important plans and programs of the AFP especially in this challenging time that the nation faces threats from foreign and local terrorists and the CPP-NPA-NDF,” Arevalo said.
“Further, the extension also gives General Guerrero the opportunity to fast track the upgrade of the AFP capability as it aspires to be a world class Armed Forces that is a source of national pride,” he added.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa is also set to retire January next year.
Unlike Guerrero, the PNP chief who steered the bloody narcotics crackdown dubbed as “Oplan Tokhang” that yielded nearly 4,000 deaths will not be given a term extension.
At least two Palace sources said that Duterte named the upcoming PNP chief during the Cabinet meeting last Monday evening.
“Your next PNP chief will be handsome, he’s Apol,” the President was quoted as saying.
He was referring to PNP Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario, the police hierarchy’s number-two man.

1 comment

  • Clamor

    Appointees serve at the pleasure of the President. What Guerrero can do is to ensure the continued efficient implementation of the ML in Mindanao and facilitate the smooth transition of the AFP leadership to the next chief of staff during his 6 months extension. The practice of extending the term of a sitting AFP chief has been widely practiced during the Marcos and Cory Aquino regime. Some examples are the over-extended terms of Fabian Ver and Fidel Ramos. It's too early the judge Guerrero's extension as unhealthy for the AFP. The retired general who made that comment is just over-reacting.

    Clamor Friday, 08 December 2017 07:38 Comment Link

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