By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte has appointed Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal, Jr. as the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement on Wednesday that Mr. Duterte wants retiring chief of staff General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. to head the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).
In his letter dated Dec. 5 to Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, Mr. Duterte said that, “per your letter-endorsement and in accordance with the recommendation of the Chief of Staff…and Chairman, AFP Board of Generals,…the designation of…(Mr.) Madrigal…as Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines…is hereby approved effective December 12, 2018.”
Mr. Panelo, in his statement, also said, “The President announced his intention to appoint General Carlito Galvez, Jr. to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.”
Former presidential peace adviser Jesus G. Dureza resigned last month, following the dismissal of two OPAPP officials due to corruption allegations. In his letter to the President, Mr. Dureza said he was tendering his resignation “to pave the way for the needed reorganization” that the President may wish to undertake at OPAPP.
Last month, Mr. Galvez expressed his interest to become a consultant for the agency. He said he wanted to ensure the smooth implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
“I already conveyed my interest with OPAPP and I told Secretary Dureza that I can be some sort of consultant, so he accepted my request,” he said in a televised press conference on Nov. 19.
“We want that, if ever, during the effective implementation of the BOL, maybe we can also reach out with the BIFF so that they can also join hands with us, so that we can also have a peaceful life,” he said further.
Also in his statement on Wednesday, Mr. Panelo said: “The Chief Executive likewise instructed Secretary of Agriculture Emmanuel Piñol to exert more efforts in assuring that the plight of farmers would be lifted, in the President’s words, ‘to a degree of comfort.’”
“During the same Cabinet meeting, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio, Jr. thanked the President for the opportunity to work with the Administration, and expressed his willingness to work with incoming Secretary Gregorio Honasan II,” Mr. Panelo added.