Philippine Armed Forces chief tests positive for COVID-19 in antigen test

Thursday, August 26, 2021

File photo of Lieutenant General Jose Faustino Jr.
Image: Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Lieutenant General Jose Faustino Jr., Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), tested positive for COVID-19 in an antigen test, according to a press conference held by AFP spokesperson Colonel Ramon Zagala on Monday. The colonel said they were waiting for the result from the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test, which was expected to be announced later the same day.

Zagala said the AFP chief "is okay" and was isolated in his quarters at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City for safety reasons. The chief's close contacts were notified about lieutenant general's results and isolated themselves. The AFP chief was expected to meet the press around 9 AM Philippine Standard Time (PHT) on Monday, the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Manila Bulletin reported, but cancelled it after he was made known of his antigen test results.

Faustino became the chief of staff of AFP on July 31, succeeding then-General Cirilito Sobejana, who retired in the same day he was replaced. Faustino was the commander of AFP Joint Task Force Mindanao before he assumed the post.

The lieutenant general is not the first AFP chief of staff to test positive for COVID-19. In March 2020, then-General Felimon Santos Jr. also contracted the virus while he was still AFP chief. Faustino was also vaccinated with Sinovac's CoronaVac in the same month.