President Rodrigo Duterte is scouting for a respectable and competent high-ranking military officer who will succeed outgoing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., Malacañang said on Thursday.
“[The next AFP chief] must be able to serve the republic, must have the competence, must have integrity, dapat hindi corrupt (must not be corrupt), and must have shown a track record to serve the Republic,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.
Roque made the statement, when quizzed about Duterte’s basis for the selection of the next AFP chief.
Santos, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1986, is the country’s 53rd AFP chief-of-staff. He was appointed to the post on January 4 this year.
Santos will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on August 4.
Roque said Duterte considers as “very important” the appointment of the new AFP chief.
He, however, did not say whether Duterte was already able to pick Santos’ successor.
Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, announced on Sunday that some 10 senior generals are being considered as the possible successor of Santos.
Arevalo said the 10 candidates for the next AFP chief include Major Service commanders, Unified Command chiefs, and other three-star generals at the General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The list of candidates for the top AFP post was submitted to Malacañang on the first week of July.
Arevalo said Duterte also has the prerogative to extend Santos’ term, especially now that the country is still grappling with the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. PNA.GOV.PH