Senate adopts House bill prescribing fixed terms for ranking AFP officers

The Senate has adopted a House of Representatives bill prescribing fixed terms for ranking Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officers.

The adoption of House Bill 10521 was announced by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate National Defense and Security committee, in last night’s (January 17) plenary session presided by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III.

The Senate decision followed a senators’ caucus before the holding of their plenary session yesterday.

This means that the measure will no longer be subject to a bicameral conference committee meeting and instead will be transmitted to Malacanang for the President’s signature.

Under the bill, the fixed term for the AFP chief of staff and other ranking officers is three years.

The bill seeks to strengthen professionalism and promote the continuity of policies and modernization initiatives in the AFP, by prescribing fixed terms for key officers, increasing the mandatory retirement age of generals/flag officers and providing for a more attrition system.

Aside from the AFP chief of staff, fixed tour of duty of three years shall also be applied to the Vice Chief of Staff; Deputy Chef of Staff; Philippine Army (PA) commanding genera; Philippine Air Force (PAF) commanding general; Philippine Navy (PN) Flag Officer in Command; Unified Command Commanders; and Inspector General.

Their tour of duty shall commence win the date of appointment is signed and shall be for three consecutive years unless sooner terminated by the President.

The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Superintendent shall have the rank of Lieutenant General and be given a tour of duty of four years.

Except for the position of Chief of Staff, the PMA Superintendent shall not be eligible for any other position in the AFP and shall be compulsorily retired upon completion of his tour of duty or upon relief from office.

No general/flag officer who is more than 58 years old shall be appointed as PMA Superintendent.

The tour of duty of the Chief of Staff shall not exceed three years. However, in times of war or other national emergency declared by Congress, the President may extend such tour of duty.

Compulsory retirement will be applied to those in the grades of Second Lieutenant/Ensign (O-1) to colonel/captain (O-6), upon retirement upon reaching the age of 56 or accumulation of 30 years of satisfactory active duty, or whichever is later.

Those in the grades of Brigadier General/Commodore (O-7) to Lieutenant General/Vice Admiral (O-9), upon reaching the age of 59 or the maximum tenure-in-grade as defined in the Act, whichever comes earlier.

The bill was pushed through to stop the current ‘’revolving door’’ policy where then tenure of an AFP chief of staff lapses just a few months after appointment.

In the ‘’revolving door’’ policy, there were 11 AFP Chiefs of Staff during the Arroyo administration while the Noynoy Aquino had six Chiefs of Staff.

At present, the Duterte administration has 11 Chiefs of Staff so far.