MANILA, Philippines – Armed Forces of the Philippines Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes will be the next Commanding General of the Philippine Army, replacing newly installed AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista.
Coballes will take over the 80,000-strong Army in a turnover rites Tuesday 3p.m. at the Philippine Army Grandstand in Fort Bonifacio to be presided by Commander-in-Chief and President Benigno Aquino III, spokesman Major Harold Cabunoc said in a statement on Monday.
The incoming Army chief is a member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1980, the same class which adopted the Aquino sisters as classmates or ‘mistah.’ He graduated 15th of 106 cadets at that time.
Before becoming AFP Vice Chief, Coballes was a distinguished Scout Ranger officer in the field, mostly in war-torn Mindanao. His most recent assignments include heading the Western Mindanao Command in 2012, Army’s First Infantry Division in 2011 and the First Scout Ranger Regiment in Bulacan from April 2008 to January 2011.
He was twice awarded with the Distinguished Conduct Star, the second highest award in the military service, for his “exemplary combat actions in Mindanao.”
Part of his campaign against terrorism and lawlessness led to the neutralization of 15 Abu Sayyaf Group members and foreign terrorists including Abu Sayyaf leader Umbra Jumdail alias Doctor Abu and two leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah.
He is married to the former Ms Lorna Paglinawan of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte and they have four daughters: Sue Ann, Carolyn, Mae Ann, and Maria Alexis.
He will reach the retirement age of 56 on February 7, 2014.