Galvez admits 'grumblings' within AFP over fixed term law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 18) — There are "grumblings" within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) due to some provisions of the law mandating fixed three-year terms for top military officials, Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. admitted on Tuesday.

"Yung grumbling normal na pag merong (Grumblings are normal if there are) inefficiency and valid concerns," Galvez told the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security.

"I admit there's grumbling kasi nakikita natin maraming (because we see many are) affected," he added.

RELATED: Galvez: No military unrest, 'valid issues' being resolved 

According to the secretary, the root cause is Republic Act 11709 - which fixes the term of ranking military officials to three years.

While the new law aims to put a stop to the "revolving door policy" in the AFP, Galvez said it could also derail the promotion of about 135,000 enlisted personnel - those from the rank of private to first chief master sergeant.

Galvez said this has affected the morale of soldiers, which they will try to resolve before the end of the first quarter this year.

"[A]ng affected is yung [batch] 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, hindi sila maka-angat kasi nagkaka-edad na sila," Galvez pointed out.

[Translation: Those affected are from batch 90, 91, 92, 93, 94. They can't get promoted because they're getting old.]

Under the AFP's proposed amendments, only the chief of staff will have a maximum tour of duty of three years while the commanding generals of the Army and Air Force, as well as the flag officer in command of the Navy can stay for two years.

Other key positions such as the vice and deputy chief of staff, unified command commanders, and inspector general will also be excluded from the fixed term.

The committee has accepted the AFP's recommendations, according to its chairperson Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

Estrada said he may sponsor the amendments at the plenary when sessions resume next week.

The House passed a counterpart bill last December after President Ferdinand Maros Jr. certified it as urgent.

CNN Philippines correspondent Eimor Santos contributed to this report.