Concom votes to raise rank of AFP officers requiring CA confirmation

MANILA The Consultative Committee (Concom) tasked by President Rodrigo R. Duterte to review the 1987 Constitution has voted to adopt in its proposed federal Constitution a provision raising the rank of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officers that will require confirmation by the Commission on Appointments (CA).

Senior Technical Assistant and Concom spokesperson Ding Generoso said that the Concom agreed to change the present colonel and navy captain to major general or rear admiral.

Voting 11-7-1, this provision to use major general or real admiral was among the revisions in the Article on the Executive Branch approved by the Concom in an en banc session on Tuesday.

Eleven Concom members voted to change it to major general or real admiral, seven voted for brigadier general or commodore, while only one voted for colonel or navy captain.

The 11 members who voted for major general or rear admiral are: Mr. Arthur Aguilar, Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, Atty. Antonio Arellano, Atty. Ferdinand Bocobo, Atty. Roan Libarios, Atty. Jose Martin Loon, retired Commodore Rex Robles, Atty. Rodolfo Robles, Prof. Edmund Tayao, Dean Julio Teehankee, and Atty. Laurence Wacnang.

The seven who voted for brigadier general or commodore include retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno, Prof. Eddie Alih, Atty. Ali Pangalian Balindong, Dr. Virgilio Bautista, retired Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura, Atty. Susan Ubalde-Ordinario, and retired Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes.

The lone member who voted to retain the 1987 Constitution's colonel or naval captain provision was former Senate President Aquilino Nene Pimentel Jr.

Concom member and retired lieutenant general Ferdinand Bocobo, who proposed this provision, explained that only major generals or rear admirals have policy-making powers in the AFP. They are two-star ranks.

Nung ginawa yang provision na 'yan, ay ginaya pa nung 1935 na yung ating (When we made that provision, we copied the 193 Constitution when our) Armed Forces was about 12,000 and a colonel then was holding an important and high-ranking position, Bocobo said.

Bocobo said that under the current AFP set up a colonel or naval captain has limited responsibility.

But now, ang (our) Armed Forces natin ngayon ay mga (now are about) 200,000 na and therefore 'yung (the) colonel, mababa na yung kaniyang responsibility (only has little responsibility), he added

I proposed the rank to be upgraded to major general or rear admiral sa kadahilanan na sa kanya na po nagsisimula yung policy-making ng ating Armed Forces (I proposed the rank to be upgraded to major general or rear admiral for the reason that that's where policy-making in the Armed Forces start), he added.

Bocobo, a retired three-star general, also pointed out that some countries have done away with the one-star rank in their navy.

Sa ibang countries, wala na pong one-star. Like in Spain, wala pong commodore kasi ang commodore ay parang civilian position (In other countries, there's no more one-star, Like in Spain, they don't have commodore because a commodore is like a civilian position), Bocobo said.

'Yan po ang justification kaya inakyat natin yung (That's the justification) rank requirement to be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments, he added. (PNA)

Below is a comparison of Section 16 in the 1987 Constitution and in the Concom's proposed federal Constitution:

The 1987 Constitution reads:

Section 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, appoint the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, or officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose appointments are vested in him in this Constitution. He shall also appoint all other officers of the Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint. The Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers lower in rank in the President alone, in the courts, or in the heads of departments, agencies, commissions, or boards.

The President shall have the power to make appointments during the recess of the Congress, whether voluntary or compulsory, but such appointments shall be effective only until disapproved by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the Congress.

The Concom's proposed amendment reads (Note: changes are in bold format):

Section 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, appoint the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, or officers of the armed forces from the rank of major general or rear admiral, and other officers whose appointments are vested in him in this Constitution. He shall also appoint all other officers of the Federal Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint. The Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers lower in rank in the President alone, in the courts, or in the heads of departments, agencies, commissions, or boards.

The President shall have the power to make appointments during the recess of the Congress, whether voluntary or compulsory, but such appointments shall be effective only until disapproved by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the Congress.

Any Presidential appointment or nomination that has been bypassed or unacted upon by the Commission on Appointments at least twice shall be deemed withdrawn and disapproved. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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