Nothing irregular with sudden change in AFP leadership, military spox says

There is nothing irregular with the abrupt change in the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. only exercised his prerogative.

President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. swears in General Andres Centino as the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Jan. 6, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Malacañang)

Col. Medel Aguilar, AFP spokesperson, said the decision of Marcos to replace now retired Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro with Gen. Andres Centino as the AFP Chief of Staff is respected by the military.

“It’s not irregular in the sense that it is within the bounds of the law, meaning the President just exercised his authority and power to designate his Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Aguilar said in a television interview with ANC on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

Former senator and AFP chief Rodolfo Biazon had said that the sudden change in the AFP leadership was irregular although he believes it won’t lead to a coup d’etat.

“This is the first time that this has happened to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and to the country,” Biazon said.

The sudden change prompted Jose Faustino Jr. to resign as the officer in charge of the Department of National Defense (DND) since he bared that he was not properly informed about the President’s decision. He said he only learned the matter over social media and the news.

“That was his personal view. As far as the Armed Forces of the Philippines, we are a professional organization that follows the change of command,” Aguilar said.

“We know very well who has the authority or power to designate the leader of the organization, and that resides completely to the President being the Commander in Chief, therefore, we have to respect that,” he continued.

The AFP spokesperson reiterated that the AFP supports the decision of Marcos to reappoint Centino as AFP Chief. Bacarro, a Medal of Valor awardee, had steered the AFP as its chief for barely five months.

Now under a new management, the AFP is unfazed by the controversies and focused on accomplishing its missions, according to Aguilar.

“The AFP under the leadership of Gen. Centino is focused more on mission accomplishment because there are more urgent tasks that we have to comply with rather than other matters to discuss,” he noted.