Next AFP chief to come from the Army — Lorenzana
President Rodrigo Duterte has already chosen the next chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday.
While the defense chief said he did not want to pre-empt the President, he gave a hint that the incoming AFP chief is a member of the Philippine Army.
“Meron na pero hindi ko sasabihin kasi ayaw ko namang pangunahan ang Presidente. Antayin na lang natin ang official announcement. Suffice to say he will come from the Philippine Army,” he told reporters.
AFP chief Gen. Carlito Galvez will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on December 12. His recent predecessors were also members of the Army, the dominant branch of military service with around 90,000 personnel.
Three-star generals are automatically qualified as contenders for the top AFP post, but since the choices are trimmed down to Army generals, the likely contenders are: Army chief Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto, Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal and Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega.
Newly-installed Central Command chief Maj. Gen. Noel Clement is a two-star general.
Talks were rife early this year that Madrigal was already a shoo-in for the top AFP post, but there are also speculations that Alberto could be a dark horse.
Madrigal is from the Philippine Military Academy “Sandiwa” Class of 1985, while Alberto is from PMA “Sinagtala” Class of 1986. Both have links to Davao, the President’s home region. /kga
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