Brawner appointment follows AFP fixed terms law, say senators

(GMA NEWS) Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Senate defense committee chairman Jinggoy Estrada see no controversy in the appointment of Lieutenant General Romeo Brawner as next Armed Forces of the Philippines chief. 

The senators said the designation to a new post was compliant with the law on military officials’ fixed term.

Estrada explained that the law signed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. last May 17 provides for a maximum tour of duty for three consecutive years for the AFP Chief of Staff “unless sooner terminated by the President.” 

“[Republic Act] 11939 amended the previous law, RA 11709, which prescribed fixed terms for the key officials of the AFP. The existing law (RA 11939) clearly states that the AFP Chief of Staff will compulsorily retire upon the completion of a tour of duty or upon relief by the President,” Estrada said.

“In both instances, when Gen. Andres Centino was reappointed last January as Chief of Staff of the AFP and now has him replaced by Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner ahead of his compulsory retirement, the President exercised his prerogative as the Commander in Chief which is allowed under RA 11939 and RA 11709. If I may further emphasize, the authority to appoint is one of the President’s foremost powers under our Constitution,” he added.

Under RA 11939, the following officials holding key positions in the AFP shall have a maximum tour of duty of two consecutive years, which shall commence on the date the appointment is signed, unless sooner terminated by the President:

-Commanding General, Philippine Army;
-Commanding General, Philippine Air Force;
-Flag Officer in Command, Philippine Navy; and
-Superintendent, Philippine Military Academy

These officials shall not be eligible for any position in the AFP unless promoted to the position of Chief of Staff.

For Estrada, Centino had already made significant accomplishments in improving the country’s internal security situation.

Estrada commended the outgoing AFP chief for his dedicated service, saying Centino will be handing over a much better AFP to Brawner.

Meanwhile, Pimentel said Centino is already “retireable.”

Although Centino is eligible for another term, Pimentel said the law provides for a maximum allowable term which means it is “not a matter of right of the appointee.”

Estrada and Pimentel both welcomed the appointment of Brawner.

Pimentel said Brawner has served the AFP his whole adult life and he saw his high profile assignments in the service.

“I have no derogatory information about him. Hence, he is qualified for the job the president has chosen him for. Good luck and best wishes to General Brawner,” Pimentel said.

Meanwhile, Estrada said he is confident that Brawner will lead the AFP with the highest level of integrity, professionalism, and honor.

“Throughout his distinguished career, Lt. Gen. Brawner has proven himself as a capable military leader. His extensive experience in various key positions within the AFP has honed his skills in managing complex operations and addressing the security challenges that our country faces,” he added.

Former PNP chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said it is a “very good decision” to appoint Brawner for the post.

“Excellent choice. General Brawner was my plebe in the [Philippine Military Academy] and I know what he is made of. He comes from a family of generational heroes,” Dela Rosa said.

On Wednesday, Malacanang announced that Marcos picked Philippine Army commanding general Brawner as next chief-of-staff of the AFP while Centino will serve as Presidential Adviser on the West Philippine Sea after his retirement.—LDF, GMA Integrated News