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Duterte extends AFP chief’s term ’til April

THE term of Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Rey Leonardo Guerrero will be extended up to April 2018 despite his reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Dec. 17, Malacañang said Thursday.

“This is to announce that 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,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in statement.

“AFP chief of staff General Guerrero will reach his age of compulsory retirement on Dec. 17, 2017, and the President has extended his service to April 24, 2018, as per Republic Act No. 8186, or six months since he assumed office as AFP chief of staff,” Roque added.

Guerrero took his oath of office just last Wednesday, as his predecessor, current Interior Undersecretary Eduardo Año, had his term as AFP chief likewise extended by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The decision follows the joint command conference of the military and the police attended by Duterte himself, held at Malacañang.

Guerrero thanked the President in a statement read by Colonel Edgard Arevalo, AFP public affairs office chief. He said he was “profoundly grateful to the President for the latter’s continued trust and confidence in his capability to lead the AFP.”

Arevalo said the term extension will give the AFP chief more time to implement important plans and programs, especially that the nation faces threats from foreign and local terrorists and the communist rebels.

“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,” Arevalo said.

Leftist groups, however, lambasted the Commission on Appointments’ confirmation of Guerrero and the promotion of 40 other military officers.

“Guerrero’s confirmation as AFP chief is a both a reward and a task from Duterte, especially now with the fascist government’s all-out war against the CPP and NPA which was recently declared by Duterte as ‘terrorists’ based on Proclamation 374,” the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said in a statement as its members protested outside Camp Aguinaldo, the AFP’s headquarters.

Guerrero’s confirmation “will give him the more power and authority to unleash the most vicious attacks and abuses against the people under the guise of invoking the rule of law, Oplan Kapayapaan and Proclamation 374. The CA’s confirmation of Guerrero definitely has Duterte’s approval,” said KMP Secretary General Antonio Flores. Department of National Defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong said the extension will give Guerrero more time to implement his programs for the military.

“This bodes well for our One Defense Team, since it will allow General Guerrero ample time to implement his programs for the Armed Forces of the Philippines as Chief of Staff,” Andolong said.

The AFP will be celebrating its 82nd Anniversary with the theme: “Protecting the People, Securing the State” on the third week of December.

Guerrero, a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Maharlika” Class of 1984, only received his fourth star last Nov. 9. 

Earlier, he said he was just serving at the pleasure of the President. 

“Like I said, I’m just a soldier. Even If I’m a four star general, I’m still a soldier following orders,” Guerrero said.

“I will just wait. Anyway, I’m ready to retire anytime,” he added.

Guerrero was the commander of the Davao-based Eastern Mindanao Command. He only assumed command of the 130,000-strong Armed Forces last Oct. 26.  

Topics: AFP chief , Duterte
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