Sudden change in AFP leadership drove Faustino to quit

Resigned Department of National Defense (DND) Officer in Charge Jose Faustino Jr. on Tuesday, Jan. 10, finally broke his silence on the issues surrounding the agency and revealed that he quit from the post because of the sudden change in the leadership at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

DND OIC Jose Faustino Jr. (File photo by DND)

In a statement, Faustino said that he tendered his resignation last Friday, Jan. 6, “after learning only from news and social media reports that an oath of office of the new Chief of Staff, AFP had taken place at Malacanang.”

Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had administered the oath taking of new AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Andres Centino on Jan. 6, which effectively replaced now retired Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro.

The following day, a change of command ceremony was held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

Faustino stressed that he “cannot allow the AFP’s reputation to be tarnished, maligned, or politicized” since it “is an institution that is loved, trusted, and respected by the Filipino people.

“It is an upright organization that is professional, highly capable, and committed to protecting our country and people from all threats, whether foreign or domestic. Our dedicated and indomitable soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines value above all honor, service, and patriotism – these are the ideals that we live and die for, if need be,” Faustino said in an emphatic statement.

The change of leadership at the AFP surprised the public since Bacarro, a well-respected officer and recipient of the highly-coveted Medal of Valor, had only been serving as the AFP Chief for five months.

Marcos did not reveal why he decided to replace Bacarro with Centino, who is also a former AFP Chief under the previous Duterte administration.

Nonetheless, Faustino assured the public that he will “always hold the AFP in high esteem.”

“Wala kaming ibang hinangad kundi ang makapag-ambag sa ikapapayapa at ikauunlad ng Pilipinas. Harinawa’y patuloy nating mahalin at pagsilbihan ng buong katapatan at walang pag-iimbot ang ating mahal na bayan (We did not aspire for anything but to contribute to the peace and order in the Philippines. I hope we continue to love and serve our beloved country with all honesty and without hesitation,” he said.

AFP welcomes Galvez

Meanwhile, the AFP supported the designation of retired military general Carlito Galvez Jr. as the new DND Secretary.

Galvez served as the AFP Chief of Staff in 2018 under the Duterte administration. He also became the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 and vaccine czar at the height of the pandemic in 2020 before he was assigned as the head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU).

“We support the designation of Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. as the Secretary of the Department of National Defense, him being a former Chief of Staff, military officer, and a peace advocate. I think these are the capabilities that will make him very effective in attaining the vision of the AFP,” said Col. Medel Aguilar, AFP spokesperson.

Aguilar also thanked Faustino “for his leadership and guidance to the AFP.”

Asked for a comment on Faustino’s revelation that he was not properly informed when the leadership at the AFP changed last week, Aguilar replied: “I think I am not competent enough to make a reaction on something that is way above my pay grade.”

Nonetheless, Aguilar said that the transition of power “was very smooth.”

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines, being a professional organization, will support whoever is designated by the President as Chief of Staff. Ito po ay parte ng ating tradisyon at siyempre officers come and go (This is part of our tradition and of course, officers come and go),” he said.