Ex-Duterte PSG head is new Army chief
Fresh from war-torn Marawi City, Major Gen. Rolando Bautista is set to take the helm at the 85,000-strong Philippine Army (PA) after President Rodrigo Duterte signed his appointment papers on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.
Bautista will replace Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda on Thursday in a turnover ceremony to be led by Duterte at the PA Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio .
Bautista, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sandiwa” Class of 1985, was also a former commander of Mr. Duterte’s Presidential Security Group (PSG) before he was named as commander of the Zamboanga-based 1st Infantry Division of the PA.
Prior his designation as PSG chief, Bautista was commander of the Army’s 104th Brigade, which oversees Basilan, the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Group.
He also served as battalion commander of the 73rd Infantry Battalion in Davao from 2005 to 2007 and later to the Compostela Valley-based 10th Infantry Division from 2007 to 2010.
As the current commander of the PA’s 1st Infantry Division, he has jurisdiction over the ongoing conflict in Marawi City, where government forces are battling ISIS-linked Maute Group since May 23.
Bautista will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on October 15, 2018.
“The AFP welcomes the new team player in Maj. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista — the newly designated commanding general of the Philippine Army,” AFP public affairs chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.
Arevalo stressed that Bautista went through all the echelons of command, including that of the PSG, which is tasked to protect the President and commander-in-chief.
He described Bautista as a “seasoned, commander, quiet and unassuming, he is decisive who leads his men from the front.” /kga
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