The nomination was in accordance with precedents and the Defence Ministry Act, he said in reference to the reported positioning of assistant Army chief Tanongsak Apirakyotin as the successor to General Sathian Permtong-in.
If Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat picked Tanongsak, then he did not break from prescribed procedures because the post of permanent secretary can by law be filled by a four- or five-star general, he said.
In 1998, Teeradej Meepien, a four-star general heading the War Veterans Organisation of Thailand, was appointed to the position, he said. Tanongsak had the seniority for the office since both he and Sathian were Pre-Cadet Class 11 graduates, he said.
The deputy PM said if he were Sukumpol, he would worry not about the Tanongsak nomination but the regulations leading to that nomination.
“Sukumpol should check pertinent provisions, particularly Article 25 of the Defence Administrative Act,” he said. The annual military reshuffle, including the nomination in question, must be vetted and approved by the seven-member ministerial panel in charge of dispensing job assignments, he said.
The permanent secretary is an ex-officio member of the panel but Sukumpol just put Sathian on secondment following a row with him, so there’s a question about acting permanent secretary General Viddhavat Rajatanun sitting on the panel in Sathian’s place, he said.
Sukumpol should ensure he had the mandate to allow Viddhavat to take part in the review, otherwise the drawing up of the new roster might hit a snag, he added.