New law fixes term of office for AFP chief, officials

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2022 03:47 PM | Updated as of May 16 2022 09:33 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte salutes to the Regimental Commander while onboard the command car in the trooping-the-line ceremony during the Philippine Military Academy commencement exercises at the Fajardo Grandstand, Borromeo Field in Fort Gen. Gregorio H. del Pilar, Baguio City on May 15, 2022. Rey Baniquet, Presidential Photo
President Rodrigo Duterte salutes to the Regimental Commander while onboard the command car in the trooping-the-line ceremony during the Philippine Military Academy commencement exercises at the Fajardo Grandstand, Borromeo Field in Fort Gen. Gregorio H. del Pilar, Baguio City on May 15, 2022. Rey Baniquet, Presidential Photo

MANILA (UPDATED)— President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that fixes the term of office for the head and other senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in a bid to do away with the "revolving door policy" and allow military leaders to implement reforms. 

Republic Act 11709 sets to 3 years the term of office of the AFP chief of staff, vice chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, commanding general of the Army and Air Force, flag officer in command of the Navy, unified command commanders, and inspector general, "unless sooner terminated by the President." 

The President may extend the tour of duty of the AFP Chief “in times of war or other national emergency declared by Congress,” according to the law. 

"Time and again, we see leaders of our armed forces come and go through the 'revolving door policy,' staying in the office just to warm up their seats and not long enough to implement their legacy programs," Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, sponsor of the law, said in September. 

RA 11709 "provides the much-needed 'moral incentive' to our military leaders," said Lacson, head of Senate defense committee. 

"With their appointment at the helm of the AFP, they get the chance not only to learn the ropes but to actually steer the armed forces in the right direction," he added. 

The AFP leadership, in a statement, welcomed the approval of the law, saying it will bring "stability in the military organization as we continue to fulfill our mandate as protectors of the people and the state."

"This shall make the AFP a more efficient and effective organization and will contribute to the realization of our vision of a more credible Armed Forces which is a source of national pride," it said.

The new law also gives the superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy a tour of duty of 4 years, "unless sooner terminated by higher authority."

"Except for the position of Chief of Staff, the PMA Superintendent shall not be eligible for any other position in the AFP and shall be compulsorily retired after completion of the fixed tour of duty or upon relief from office," according to RA 11709. 

It added that no general or flag officer who is more than 58 years old will be appointed as PMA superintendent. 
 
The measure also sets the compulsory retirement at 56 or an accumulation of 30 years of satisfactory active duty, whichever comes later, for those in the grades of second lieutenant/ensign (O-1) to colonel/captain (O-6).

For those in the grades of brigadier general/commodore (O-7) to lieutenant general/vice admiral (O-9), the retirement age will be 59 or the maximum tenure-in-grade, whichever comes earlier. 

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