No term extension for AFP chief, Palace says

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 03 2014 06:12 PM | Updated as of Jun 04 2014 02:12 AM

MANILA - A Palace official gave no indications that the term of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Emmanuel Bautista may be extended due to the tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma was asked about the possibility in Tuesday's briefing.

Bautista retires late July.

"Wala po tayong nalalaman na ganyang konsiderasyon dahil ang patakaran ng Pangulo ay sundin kung ano iyong nasa batas and there is a fixed term. The term expires at the 56 birthday of the occupant of the position," he said.

Coloma, however, said the selection of the next AFP chief will be guided by the present challenges and realities.

"Makatitiyak tayo na ang batayan sa pagpili ay iyong kung sino ba ang pinakamahusay ang kapabilidad para magampanan ang mga tungkulin ng pinuno ng Estado Mayor -- Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines -- given the present challenges and realities. Kaya't makatitiyak tayo na sa pagpili ng susunod na hepe iyan ang magiging panuntunan or criterion of the President who is the most capable officer who can lead the Armed Forces in this time of challenge and opportunity."
 
According to Coloma, government would rather strengthen institutions.

"Ang mahalaga naman dito ay iyong pagpapalakas ng buong institusyon. Kapag pinag-usapan kasi natin ang military, hindi lang naman iyong nasa itaas, ano. When we speak of institutional capability, it also means raising the standards of capability and performance of the entire officer corps as well as the men and women in uniform," he said.