Faustino 'easily qualifies' to be next DND chief—Lacson

Outgoing Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Saturday, June 18 said he was confident Retired Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. is competent to be the next Department of National Defense (DND) chief.

Lacson said he vouches for Faustino’s capability to head the DND despite having earlier objected to his appointment as a three-star general during the Commission on Appointments (CA) proceedings.

“Having capped his career as the AFP Chief of Staff easily qualifies Gen. Faustino as the next Secretary of National Defense in November, in consideration of the one-year ban on the appointment of newly retired AFP officers under Republic Act 11709,” Lacson said.

Lacson is referring to the law strengthening professionalism and promoting the continuity of policies and initiatives in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“My objection to his appointment earlier as a 3-star general being the Commanding General of the Philippine Army had nothing to do with his competence but his disqualification due to the prohibition under Presidential Decree 1638, having less than one year before retirement,” he explained.

According to Lacson, only the Chief of Staff, AFP is exempted from such ban.

“I remember making a commitment to SND Lorenzana then that even if Faustino was on floating status and appointed Chief of Staff, I would not object to his confirmation as 4-star general and even move for his confirmation in the Commission on Appointments (CA) as a member of the Senate panel, which I did,” Lacson said.

The incoming Marcos administration recently announced the designation of Faustino as senior undersecretary and officer-in-charge of the DND.

Afterwards, Faustino will assume his position as DND secretary on November 13 of this year or as soon as the one-year ban on the appointment of retired military officers has lapsed.