MANILA (UPDATE) - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday welcomed the appointment of Major General Andres Centino as the new commanding general of the Philippine Army.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the designation of Centino as Army Commanding General last Friday, May 14, Malacañang said Sunday.
"We are confident that Major Gen. Centino will continue the initiatives to professionalize and modernize the principal branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines while building the gains to serve our people and secure our land," Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed Saturday the promotion of Centino, who replaces Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino, both members of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1988.
"The General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines welcomes the designation of MGEN Andres Centino as Commanding General of the Philippine Army," said AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo in a statement.
"His appointment came at the time when the AFP is vigorously pursuing its initiatives and building on its gains to the defeat the Communist Terrorist Group, the Abu Sayyaf Group, and the BIFF. And this is where his attributes are expected to contribute immensely," he added.
Centino was AFP deputy chief of staff for operations before his appointment as 4th ID commander in May last year.
"Given his known professionalism, operational experience, and managerial skills gained from various leadership echelons of the AFP, MGEN Centino will undoubtedly stir the Army to greater heights," said Arevalo.
Faustino, who will retire in November 2021, was Philippine Army commanding general on "acting capacity."
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a retired police chief, questioned last March the designation of Faustino, citing a law prohibiting the appointment of an officer with less than a year left in service, as Army chief.
AFP chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said Sunday that Faustino's relief as Army chief "is in accordance with... Republic Act 8186, section 4, wherein the CGPA should have at least one year remaining in the service on the day of his assumption."
He is now designated as special assistant to the Chief of Staff on Peace and Development, added Sobejana.
As such, Faustino "will closely supervise the programs, activities and projects of the AFP Peace and Development Office, especially on matters pertaining to the Normalization Process of the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB), particularly in ensuring that the Decommissioning of firearms of the former MILF combatants remains on schedule," said Arevalo.