MANILA, Philippines – What was meant to be a sentimental and nostalgic retirement speech by General Jessie Dellosa as Chief of Staff Armed Forces of the Philippines turned into a comic relief of sorts after he mistakenly called the last name of a Malacañang official by an actor’s last name.
Having the same first name, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. was introduced in opening remarks by Dellosa as Paquito Diaz, a popular character actor who died March 2011.
“Sa ating panauhing pandangal, ang ating Commander-in-Chief at Pangulo ng Republika ng Pilipinas His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III, former President Fidel Valdez Ramos, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Executive Secretary Honorable Paquito Diaz…,” Dellosa said at Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday.
After a moment of awkward silence, Dellosa immediately corrected the faux pas.
“I’m sorry, sir. Paquito Ochoa,” he corrected, eliciting laughter from the crowd, including Ochoa himself. The guests in the ceremony included the President, Vice President, Cabinet officials, retired security officials, service commanders, military officers, enlisted personnel, civilians and the media.
Dellosa recalled his 38-year military career by comparing the service when he was newly commissioned and how he is leaving it, saying “any military officer on the brink of retirement can only find contentment when he is convinced that he will leave the service better than when he first entered it.”
He cited that the AFP at present was making “tangible progress in the peace negotiations with the different internal threats.”
The general added that the military was shifting from internally-focused state of mind “as the AFP prepares to transition to its traditional mandate for external defense.”
Dellosa also expressed confidence that the AFP was in “very good and capable hands” under the new Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Emmanuel Bautista.
“I have been a witness to your leadership; your own reform initiatives; your fighting will, and your genuine concern for the men and women of the AFP. Congratulations! I wish you all the best, and I have full faith that the AFP is in very good and capable hands,” he said.