Ex-AFP Chief Faustino takes top DND post in Marcos Jr.'s Cabinet

Retired Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), was selected as the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Department of National Defense (DND) by the incoming administration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

General Jose Faustino Jr. attends the 71st founding anniversary celebration of the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) at the Marine Barracks Rudiardo Brown in Taguig City on Nov. 7, 2021. (File photo: PMC)

Outgoing Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana welcomed the designation of Faustino to replace him effective June 30.

"I am confident that with his years of dedicated service as a military officer, Gen. Faustino will continue the Department's momentum in our internal security and external defense operations, as well as the modernization of the armed forces and the entire defense organization," Lorenzana said on Friday, June 17.

The Defense Chief believes that Faustino will immediately "hit the ground running" since he was still fresh from his retirement in AFP.

"I look forward to working with Gen. Faustino and his team in the transition period leading up to June 30," Lorenzana said.

Faustini served as the 56th AFP Chief for a brief four months, or from July 31, 2021 until his mandatory retirement on Nov. 12, 2021.

He was also installed as the 63rd Commanding General of the Philippine Army on Feb. 16, 2021 -- only to be removed by then AFP Chief Cirilito Sobejana from office in an unprecedented move in such major service unit on May 18, 2021.

This, after retired police general and Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson pointed out that his appointment in the Army 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." Faustino was set to retire in November of the same year.

He was then given a special position by Sobejana as the commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) for Peace and Security in Mindanao (JTF-Mindanao) in June 2021, before officially becoming the AFP Chief the following month.

Faustino is a product of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) "Maringal" Class of 1988.

In his early career, Faustino had also served as the commander of the Davao City-based Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM); 10th Infantry Division (10ID) in Eastern Mindanao which covers parts of Davao (Region 11) and SOCCSKSARGEN (Region 12); and head of the 11th Intelligence Service Unit also in Davao.