By Katrina Domingo | ABS-CBN News
MANILA (UPDATE) — Former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. has been named President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s Secretary of National Defense, but would first work as an undersecretary due to technicalities, the camp of the incoming administration said Friday.
Under the law, retired military officials may only be appointed to a government post a year after their retirement.
Faustino “served as the 56th Chief of Staff of the AFP until his mandatory retirement last Nov. 12, 2021,” incoming Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a statement.
“Faustino's situation was similar to current Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año's case, whom President Duterte designated as officer-in-charge but later assumed the Secretary position once the appointment ban lapsed,” she said.
In a statement, incumbent Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he was looking forward to working with Faustino's camp in the transition period until June 30.
"I welcome the selection of former AFP Chief of Staff General Jose C. Faustino Jr. (Ret) as the incoming officer-in-charge of the Department by the President-elect," he said Friday.
"I am confident that with his years of dedicated service as a military officer, Gen. Faustino will continue the Department's momentum in our internal security and external defense operations, as well as the modernization of the armed forces and the entire defense organization," Lorenza added.
Faustino is part of the Philippine Military Academy’s Maringal Class of 1988.
He was commander of the 35th Infantry Battalion and eventually of the 501st Infantry Brigade, both in the province of Sulu.
He also has a background in intelligence, having served as an intelligence officer of the First Scout Ranger Regiment, assistant chief of staff for intelligence of the 10th Infantry Division, deputy chief of staff for intelligence of the Philippine Army, and assistant chief of the Unified Command Staff for Intelligence of the NCR Command, among other posts.
He “is a well-respected Mindanao veteran who has served under the special forces, infantry, and intelligence posts,” Angeles said.
“He was also the commander of the Joint Task Force Mindanao and was a commanding General of the Philippine Army before being appointed AFP Chief of Staff,” she said.
Marcos’ Cabinet picks “highlight his commitment to encouraging economic development and inclusive growth,” she added.