PSG top post: Senior deputy has inside track
MANILA, Philippines—One of the two most senior deputies of Presidential Security Group (PSG) Commander Ramon Mateo U. Dizon will soon be stepping into his shoes.
Barring any last-minute change of mind, President Aquino will name Col. Raul Ubando to replace Dizon, who will reach mandatory retirement age on Aug. 31, according to two Palace officials who were privy to the President’s decision.
Dizon had recommended as his replacement two of his most senior deputies, Ubando and Col. David Diciano, who are both members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class of 1985.
Another contender for the post is Col. Jose Caparas Jr., who is from the PMA batch of 1987.
Dizon, his wife, Jo Ann, and some members of his family had a “farewell” dinner with the President on Tuesday.
The incoming PSG commander will formally take his oath during turnover ceremonies in Malacañang on Friday, said the two sources who were interviewed separately.
Although Ubando and Diciano both have the backing of Dizon, the President’s decision “has to be based on seniority and performance,” said one of the sources.
“It’s Ubando who has the upper hand, but we have a saying in the military: Do not assume until you assume,” one source quipped.
“It’s the President’s decision, so he should be the one to announce it or his spokesperson,” the source said.
The two officials described Ubando as very “professional.”
In an ambush interview last Thursday, Aquino kept the public guessing on the identity of Dizon’s successor.
Dizon was publicly praised by the President during his fourth state of the nation address last July 22.
“For Gen. Ramon Mateo Dizon, soon-to-retire head of the PSG, who stood alongside me even in facing coups d’etat during my mother’s term: Up until my presidency, you have protected me,” Mr. Aquino said.
Dizon worked for the military for over 30 years, mostly behind the scenes.
He served three presidents—Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos and now President Aquino.
After graduating from the PMA in 1983, Dizon joined the Philippine Constabulary and became a founding member of its Special Action Force (SAF).
He was stationed in Mindanao for a year before the fall of the Marcos dictatorship.
His date with destiny came less than a month after Cory Aquino, the President’s mother, assumed office.
On March 13, 1986, he was assigned by the PC to the Office of the Group Commander of the PSG, the most junior officer handpicked by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, the then PSG chief, during the first Aquino presidency.
Dizon stayed with the PSG until 1988, when he returned to his mother unit. From 1990 to 1991, he briefly served as a military assistant to Ramos, who was then defense secretary.
Although he was not with the PSG at the time, he found himself protecting the Aquinos during the 1989 coup—the bloodiest power grab against Cory Aquino staged by the Reform the Armed Forces Movement.
Dizon was then company commander of the SAF’s 3rd Light Reaction Company, assigned to protect Camp Aguinaldo.
His proximity to Greenmeadows Subdivision in Quezon City had allowed him to extend a protective blanket over some members of the Aquino clan who were living there at the time of the coup.
After a stint with the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), he rejoined the PSG in July 1992, when Ramos became President.
Dizon rose from the ranks, from commanding officer, chief of the training branch, deputy operations officer, commander, executive officer to commanding officer of the PSG.
He again left the PSG in March 1999, eight months after Joseph Estrada became President, only to return a decade after.
This time around—his third tour with the PSG—he came back as its commander.
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