DND in 'full' support as Faustino takes oath as 56th AFP Chief of Staff

Published July 31, 2021, 1:40 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Department of National Defense (DND) expressed “full confidence” in the capability of Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. as he is set to officially take oath as the 56th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday afternoon, July 31.

Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., 56th Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. (Photo courtesy of AFP)

Faustino will replace outgoing Chief of Staff, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, in a joint retirement and change of command ceremony around 3 p.m. at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. Sobejana reached the mandatory retirement age of 56 years old for military personnel on Saturday.

“A seasoned military commander, Lt. Gen. Faustino will ably direct our armed forces toward addressing the pressing peace and security concerns of our country, particularly in ending the local communist armed conflict that has dragged down our country for the last five decades,” said Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Lorenzana said the DND looks forward to Faustino in leading the troops and making the AFP “a highly professional, capable, and world-class organization that we envision it to be.”

Unless his tenure is extended by President Duterte, Faustino is set to serve as AFP Chief for less than four months as he is set to retire on November 12, 2021.

A native of Itogon, Benguet, Faustino is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Maringal” Class of 1988.

Prior to the top AFP post, he was the commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) for Peace and Security in Mindanao, spearheading the crafting of the Mindanao Security and Stability Plan to synchronize the peace efforts of Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) and Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM).

He also served as the acting Commanding General of the Philippine Army from Febbruary to May 2021, a tenure cut short by Sobejana himself. Former police general and now Senator Panfilo Lacson pointed out that Faustino’s appointment as Army Chief was a violation of Section 4 of Republic Act 8186. It states that AFP officers are prohibited to take major service command posts except for the AFP Chief “if he has less than one year of active service remaining prior to compulsory retirement.”

He spent most of his career in Mindanao, having been the commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command based in Davao City.

During his younger years, he became the commanding officer of the 7th Scout Ranger Company, First Scout Ranger Regiment; Scout Ranger Training School; 11th Intelligence and Security Unit, Intelligence Security Group; 35th Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Division; and 501st Infantry Brigade, 5th Infantry Division in Sulu.

He also served as the Commandant of Cadets, and Head Tactics Group of the PMA.

Further, he excelled in staff positions such as Intelligence and Operations Officer of the Task Group Zamba, First Scout Ranger Regiment; Admin and Tactical Officer of the Headquarters Tactics Group at PMA; Assistant Chief of Staff for Comptrollership of the Intelligence and Security Group; and Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence at 10th Infantry Division.

Later on his career, he was promoted as Deputy of the Philippine Army; Assistant Chief of Unified Command Staff for Intelligence at the NCR Command; and Assistant Chief of Staff for Education and Training at Philippine Army.

Meanwhile, Lorenzana extended his gratitude to Sobejana, who was appointed in January 2021, for leading the armed forces for six months.

“We also thank Gen. Sobejana for the years of dedicated service to the nation and wish him the best as he retires from military service,” the Defense Chief said.