Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo on Tuesday disclosed that it will be up to President Rodrigo Duterte whether he will extend the term of incoming AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Noel Clement or not.
In a statement, Arevalo said that unless the President — given his prerogative provided under the law — extends Lieutenant General Clement’s tour of duty, he will serve only less than four months as chief of the 135,000-strong military until his retirement on January 2020.
The AFP spokesman noted that the date of the compulsory retirement of Lt. Gen. Clement is on 5 January 2020 when he turns 56 years old.
“But as he assumes command of the AFP, his focus is primarily on the goals which are to decisively defeat local communist terrorists and the local terrorist groups in Sulu, Basilan, and Central Mindanao and to achieve them within the period — and not on the prospect of extension,” Arevalo said.
The 55-year-old Clement replaces Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., as the 52nd Chief of Staff of the AFP with Madrigal stepping down from military service at the age of 56 on 28 September.
Clement — a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “SANDIWA” Class of 1985 — earlier said that he expects to immediately make an impact in the military’s anti-insurgency campaign once he assumes leadership of the AFP.