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MANILA, Philippines – President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. named former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff and retired Army general Jose “Boy” Faustino Jr. as his defense secretary.
Marcos announced the appointment of the former military chief on Friday, June 17, through press secretary-designate Trixie Angeles. He will succeed Delfin Lorenzana as secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND).
The incoming defense chief would serve as senior undersecretary and DND secretary in an officer-in-charge capacity, then would later assume as secretary on November 13, 2022.
Angeles explained that Faustino would first need to serve in OIC capacity to comply with the law. “Faustino is being tapped as Senior Undersecretary and Officer-in-Charge of the Department of National Defense (DND), a post he would later assume as Secretary on Nov. 13, 2022, in compliance with the one-year ban on the appointment of retired military officers under Republic Act 6975,” the Marcos’ camp said in a release.
“Faustino’s situation,” Cruz-Angeles said, “was similar to current Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año’s case, whom President Duterte designated as officer-in-charge but later assumed the Secretary position once the appointment ban lapsed.”
Faustino would be the 37th defense chief of the Philippines. As the DND secretary, he will primarily oversee the country’s defense, security, and territorial integrity.
The DND chief will also oversee the Philippine military, including its three service branches: the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, and Philippine Air Force.
Faustino was the 10th AFP chief under outgoing president and commander-in-chief Rodrigo Duterte. He only served for four months, making him one of the short-term military chiefs.
The new defense chief has been retired for seven months; he reached the military’s mandatory retirement age of 56 in November 2021.
Lorenzana’s successor was born in Benguet, a part of the so-called “Solid North” and bailiwick of Marcos. Although born in the North, Faustino spent the crucial years of his career in Davao City, Duterte’s territory.
A Scout Ranger, Faustino had been commander of the 10th Infantry Division, which has jurisdiction over Davao City and nearby provinces. He also later headed the Davao City-based AFP Eastern Mindanao Command that commands all the soldiers in Davao provinces.
Faustino was also a former commanding general of the Philippine Army. However, shortly after his appointment, former police chief and Senator Panfilo Lacson flagged his appointment as illegal and cited a law requiring major service chiefs and other senior officers – save for the chief-of-staff – to have at least one year remaining before they are promoted.
The then-army chief did not qualify because he was retiring in less than a year. Initially, the DND insisted that Faustino could remain in his post in an acting capacity, however, after 104 days, the agency removed him.
After he relinquished his Army post, the military said Faustino would be appointed as the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff on Peace and Development. But in June 2021, the military announced the creation of Joint Task Force Mindanao and appointed Faustino as its first commander. – Rappler.com