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Duterte extends term of new military chief
By Manolo B. Jara December 08, 2017
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MANILA: President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte extended the term of the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for another four months which is to end in April 2018, a Malacanang Palace official reported on Thursday.

Harry Roque, the presidential spokesman, said with the extension, General Rey Leonardo Guerrero is to serve as the AFP chief for a total of six months instead of two months.

But without the extension, it would have meant “hello and goodbye” for Guerrero since he would serve for only 11 days before he hangs his uniform when he is to observe his compulsory retirement age of 56 on Dec.17 as mandated by law.

Officials noted that the powerful Commission on Appointments composed of senior members of the Senate and the House of Representatives confirmed Guerrero’s appointment only on Wednesday.

This meant, officials explained, that Guerrero had only 11 days left as the AFP chief until Dec.17 before Duterte ordered the extension of his term until April 24, 2018.

Duterte named Guerrero (meaning “warrior” in Spanish), the former chief of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command based in the president’s hometown of Davao City, to replace general Eduardo Ano who retired as the AFP chief on Oct.26, but during the congressional hearing, Congressman Ronaldo Zamora of suburban San Juan City in Metro Manila cited the urgent need to revisit the so-called “revolving door” policy covering the early retirement of military chiefs.

Zamora pointed out that the government was “retiring so readily and so cavalierly people who are in the prime of their lives.”

“(At age 56) is not old when you retire. He is not an old man. Why are we retiring somebody as senior as experienced as our new (AFP) chief of staff? This is a policy that we need to examine,” Zamora stressed.

Another member, Senator Panfilo Lacson, a retired head of the Philippine National Police, supported Zamora, pointing out that setting a fixed term for the AFP chief and other officers would enable them to serve beyond the mandatory retirement age of 56.

Guerrero also revealed to reporters he himself had recommended an adjustment to the retirement age and terms of the AFP chief as well as those of the other major service commanders like the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force.

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