By Mario Casayuran
The powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed Wednesday the appointment of Lieutenant General Noel S. Clement as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), with the rank of a four-star general.
The 25-member Commission also confirmed the appointment of Allan Ferdinand V. Cusi as Vice Admiral, Philippine Navy (PN).
The confirmation of the two chiefs of the country’s armed services was made in Wednesday plenary session presided by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, concurrent CA chairman.
Clement is the sixth AFP chief of staff to be appointed during the current Duterte administration. He will retire on January 5 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.
Of the two, Clement stayed on his seat longer to answer queries by CA members – senators and congressmen – on a number of issues of national importance.
These issues are the continued depredations by the Abu Sayyaff Group that has allied itself to the extremist ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), the installation at Philippine military bases of towers by Dito Telecommunity, which is a partner of Chinese Telecommunications, and the martial law administration in Mindanao.
Clement said he proposed the lifting of martial law in Mindanao but any reimposition should be made only in certain areas. He said peace and order now reigns over secession-troubled Mindanao.
With only three months to sit as AFP chief of staff, Clement said he would continue with the transformation program of the AFP through professionalization and capability development.