Veto Message of President Aquino on S. No. 2869 / H. No. 6

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22 December 2011

The Honorable Speaker
and Members of the House of Representatives
House of Representatives
Quezon City

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Pursuant to Section 27 (1), Article VI of the Constitution, I am returning herewith the consolidated enrolled bill S. No. 2869/H. No. 6, entitled:

“An Act Prescribing A Fixed Term for the Chief of Staff and A Minimum Term for the Major Service Commanders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and for Other Purposes,”

without my signature.

I personally believe that the deferment of the statutory compulsory retirement of the Chief of Staff is of doubtful constitutionality in view of the proscription found in Section 12(5), Article XVI of the Constitution mandating that laws on retirement of military officers shall not allow for an extension of service.

More importantly, as the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the all armed forces of the Philippines, it is absolutely essential that the Chief of Staff of the AFP enjoy the full trust, and confidence of the President. When that trust and confidence has been lost, the President should have the discretion and authority to remove the Chief of Staff.

By providing a fixed term of three years, the enrolled bill effectively curtails this discretion and authority of the President. While it is true that the enrolled bill does recognize the power of the President to remove the Chief of Staff at any time, the context of the provision limits the exercise of this power only to the period after the Chief of Staff has reached the compulsory retirement age. Prior to the Chief of Staff reaching the compulsory retirement age, the President is deprived of this power and may not remove the Chief of Staff except for cause, even if the President has lost all confidence in the Chief of Staff.

In addition, prescribing a fixed term of two years for the Major Service Commanders may result in unduly preventing officers of Major General rank from rising up the ranks, and may lead to demoralization among the ranks.

In view thereof, I am constrained to veto the above-mentioned enrolled bill.

Very truly yours;


Encl.: a/s

cc: Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile
President of the Senate
Philippine Senate
Pasay City