Duterte skips AFP Change of Command

President Rodrigo Duterte skipped on Tuesday the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Change of Command Ceremony and Retirement Honors for outgoing AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr.

Duterte designated Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to lead the program instead.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, who was also present in the event, said the 74-year-old President opted to rest after his punishing schedule.

“The punishing schedule of official and social events the previous days has slightly affected his body temperature. He opted to rest so he can be his usual healthy self in no time,” Panelo said in a statement.

On Sunday, Duterte attended the baptism of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and wife Rowena Kristina Velasco’s daughter, Sara in a hotel in Makati City.

Duterte was also present at Panelo’s surprise birthday party in a Makati City hotel on Monday night.

Earlier, Madrigal, 56, said he would retire from service with a “grateful heart and fulfilled soul”.

He is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985.

Prior to his appointment as AFP chief on Dec. 11, 2018, Madrigal commanded the Eastern Mindanao Command, Southern Luzon Command, the 4th Infantry Division, the 701st Infantry Brigade, and the 26th Infantry Battalion.

Madrigal’s previous posts include being the chief of staff of the Philippine Army; chief of War Plans in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans J5; Secretary Joint Staff; and chief of the Army Management and Fiscal Office.

Lt. Gen. Noel Clement, commander of the Central command based in Cebu will take Madrigal’s place.

He is the 52nd AFP Chief of Staff and the sixth under the Duterte administration.

Clement will serve for barely four months, as he is set to reach 56 years old, the mandatory retirement age for military service, on Jan. 5, 2020. PNA.GOV.PH