ARMED Forces chief Noel Clement was finally promoted to the next higher rank of general from lieutenant general (three stars), more than a month after assuming command of the military establishment.
Clement received his additional star yesterday during ceremonies held at the Department of National Defense building in Camp Aguinaldo, presided by DND Undersecretary Cardozo Luna.
Clement assumed the top military post from Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. on September 24 when the latter reached the mandatory retirement age of 56.
Clement was assisted by his wife, Geraldine Anne, and his two sons during the donning of ranks ceremony.
AFP vice chief Vice Adm. Gaudencio Collado, Army chief Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto, Navy chief Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad, Air Force Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez, and Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay witnessed the event.
Clement, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985, is due bow out of the service on January 5 next year upon reaching the retirement age, unless his term is extended by President Duterte.
Duterte has extended the term of only one of the five AFP chiefs who have served under him. Now Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero was supposed to retire in December 2017, two months after assuming the post of AFP chief. He left the military service in April 2018 after a four-month extension of his term.
The first five AFP chiefs to serve under Duterte are Madrigal, Guerrero, now presidential adviser on the peace process Carlito Galvez, now Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and now National Irrigation Authority chief Ricardo Visaya.
Before becoming AFP chief, Clement headed the AFP’s Central Command based in Cebu City. Officials have yet to announce a replacement for Clement at the Central Command which supervises all military operations in the entire Visayas.