Marcos Jr replaces Philippines defense minister, military chief

Manila, Jan 10 (EFE).- The President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr has appointed a new defense minister after the resignation of the previous one, who on Tuesday expressed his unhappiness over the military chief being replaced a few days ago without his knowledge.

The presidential communication office on Monday announced the appointment of Carlito Galvez as the defense secretary, replacing the previous head of the ministry Jose Faustino Jr, hours after the latter’s resignation.

The presidential palace did not offer explanations about the shuffle, which comes just six months into this government’s term.

Galvez, aged 60, had led the national vaccination campaign during the pandemic. Moreover, he was the military leader to head the operation for reclaiming the city of Malawi in 2017 after it was besieged by Islamist groups affiliated to the Islamic State.

The shuffle comes after the head of the Philippine Armed Forces was replaced by the president on Friday in a surprise announcement.

The new military chief, General Andres Centino, replaced Lt General Bartolome Bacarro, who had been occupying the top post since Aug. 8, 2022, when he had substituted Centino himself.

In a press statement released on Tuesday, Faustino Jr justified his resignation by saying that he had come to know of the change in the military leadership only through media outlets and social networks.

The former defense secretary added that one cannot allow the reputation of the Philippine Armed Forces to be “tarnished, maligned, or politicized,” in a veiled reference to the sudden reshuffle of the military chief without previous explanations.

Faustino Jr, who had held the defense secretary’s post since Marcos Jr being sworn in on Jun. 30, 2022, had pushed for renovating Philippine’s military equipment amid growing tensions with China over territorial conflicts in the South China Sea. EFE


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