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Senate OKs bill on fixed term of AFP chief of staff

August 22, 2011 5:31pm
The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill prescribing fixed terms for the chief of staff and major service commanders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

During Monday's Senate plenary session, the chamber approved on third and final reading Senate Bill 2869 which prescribes a fixed term of office of three years for AFP chiefs of staff and at least two years for major service commanders.

It said the terms of office shall commence on the date of the appointment by the President and regardless of the date of confirmation by the bicameral Commission on Appointments.

The bill was authored by Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Panfilo Lacson, and Lito Lapid.

Lacson had earlier explained that this measure will help get rid of the "revolving door policy," where an AFP official — particularly the most senior one — is appointed chief of staff despite the fact that he is nearing retirement age.

President Benigno Aquino III’s predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, appointed 11 AFP chiefs, most of them having served for less than a year, during her nine-year rule.

SB 2869 also has a provision which says that when the chief of staff reaches the compulsory retirement age before the end of his three year term, his retirement shall be deferred until he completes his term unless removed by the President for loss of confidence.

Last February, the House of Representatives also approved on third and final reading House Bill 6, which also prescribes a fixed three-year term for the AFP chief of staff.

HB 6 also gives the President the power to defer the compulsory retirement period of a military chief if it falls within his three-year term, as long as he has the “confidence" of the commander-in-chief. — RSJ, GMA News
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