Press Release
September 4, 2011

Trillanes seeks to strengthen promotion system in AFP

Senator Antonio "Sonny" F. Trillanes IV seeks to strengthen the promotion system within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by exempting lower-ranking officers from confirmation by the Commission on Appointments in order to avoid the politicalization of their appointment or promotion.

In Concurrent Resolution No. 9 which he filed at the Senate, Trillanes wants to amend Section 16, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution to allow the AFP and the Department of National Defense (DND) to have supervision and discretion over the appointment or promotion of military officers from colonel or naval captain and up except those of the service chiefs of the Army, Air Force and the Navy and the Chief of Staff of the AFP.

Under the 1987 Charter, "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 captain or naval captain, and other officers whose appointments are vested in him in this Constitution."

Trillanes, however, said the AFP and the DND can more than adequately screen the fitness and qualifications of lower ranking officers for such appointment or promotion.

"The practice of confirmation by the Commission on Appointment from the rank of colonel or naval captain has unfortunately led to the political polarization of the AFP. Military officers up for appointment or promotion are being forced to play politics and kowtow to the desires and wishes of politicians in order to ensure that their appointments or promotions shall not be unduly blocked, regardless of the merits of such appointments or promotions," Trillanes explained.

The young senator added: "This requirement is adversely affecting the promotion system in the AFP, which is supposed to be based principally on merit, fitness and qualifications instead of political connections."

Under the bill, however, the confirmation of the service chief's of the Army, Air Force and Navy and the position of chief of staff of the AFP shall remain under the CA.

"Needless to state, the Office of the President and the promotions board of the AFP and the DND are more than qualified and equipped to screen, vet and decide who among the officers of the AFP are qualified for appointment or promotion. Hence, the requirement of compelling all officers of the AFP from the rank of colonel or naval captain to undergo the confirmation process is clearly superfluous," the senator added.

Being a former Navy officer, Trillanes continues to champion reforms and welfare of men and women in uniform.

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