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JTF Mindanao commander Jose Faustino Jr. named new AFP chief

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Joint Task Force Mindanao commander Lieutenant General Jose Faustino Jr. as the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, replacing General Cirilito Sobejana.

This was stated in a letter sent by the President to Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana dated July 29.

"Per your letter-endorsement and in accordance with the recommendation of the Chief of the Armed Forces and the Armed Forces Board of Generals, pursuant to Republic Act 8186, the designation of Lieutenant General Faustino of the Philippine Army as Chief of Staff is hereby approved effective July 31," the letter read.

Sobejana will retire on July 31.

Faustino was appointed as Philippine Army chief in February but his term was cut short after Senator Panfilo Lacson flagged his appointment for being against the law. He was named JTF Mindanao commander in June.

Section 4 of Republic Act 8186 states that "except for the Chief of Staff of the AFP, no officer shall be assigned/designated to the aforementioned key positions (including major service commanders) or promoted to the rank of Brigadier General/Commodore or higher if he has less than one (1) year of active service remaining prior to compulsory retirement."

Faustino is due to retire in November this year.

Armed Forces public affairs office chief Captain Jonathan Zata welcomed Faustino’s appointment, citing his experience and passion for service.

“He has the mettle  to lead the AFP in accomplishing its mission in achieving lasting peace and development in the country,” Zata said.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also wished Faustino well.

“We are confident that General Faustino will continue the peace and development efforts of his predecessors while aggressively building up our defense capability,” Roque said.

“We pray for General Faustino's success as he embarks in his new role as AFP Chief.”

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed confidence in the capabilities of Faustino.

“Faustino will ably direct our Armed Forces toward addressing the pressing peace and security concerns of our country, particularly, in ending the local communist armed conflict that has dragged our country down for the last five decades,” Lorenzana said.

“We look to Lieutenant General Faustino to lead our troops to continue making the AFP a highly professional, capable, and world-class organization that we envision it to be,” he added.

Before serving as Army chief, Faustino headed the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) based in Davao City, Duterte's hometown. —KBK/NB, GMA News