PRESIDENT Duterte is not going to extend the term of Armed Forces chief Gen. Noel Clement, who is due to reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on January 5, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said yesterday.
Lorenzana’s statement shot down speculations that Clement’s tour of duty will be extended.
Clement, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985, assumed the top AFP post on September 24, replacing Benjamin Madrigal Jr.
“The President has decided not to extend anymore, absent any compelling reason to do so,” Lorenzana said.
“If you recall, Secretary Año was extended for several months due to the Marawi crisis,” he added, referring to former AFP chief now Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.
Año’s term was not extended. It was supposed to be cut short.
In May 2017, President Duterte said he was cutting short Año’s term as AFP chief so he can assume the post of interior secretary. Weeks later, the Maute terror group occupied several barangays in Marawi City. Año went on to serve as AFP chief until he reached his mandatory retirement age of 56 in October that year.
Año bowed out of the service days after the military declared victory in Marawi City in October 2017. The five-month Marawi crisis claimed the lives of about a thousand terrorists, 168 soldiers and policemen, and 47 civilians.
Duterte has extended the term of only one AFP chief he appointed — now customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.