Three generals eyed as next Army chief
MANILA, Philippines–The replacement of Army chief Lieutenant General Noel Coballes has not yet been announced even two days before his retirement on Friday.
The Palace said on Wednesday that President Benigno Aquino III will announce Coballes’ successor on Friday during the turnover rites.
The top three contenders for the key Army post are: Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr of the Northern Luzon Command, Major General Hernando Iriberri of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division, and Major General John Bonafos of the Central Command.
Catapang is from Philippine Military Academy Class of 1981, while Iriberri is from PMA 1983. Bonafos is from PMA 1982.
Catapang is scheduled to retire on July 11, 2015, Iriberri is on April 22, 2016, and Bonafos on October 19, 2015.
Military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said the three were recommended by the Board of Generals.
“Who the President will choose we have no information yet so we just have to wait,” Zagala told reporters.
There is also a possibility, however, that the President will choose outside of the recommended senior officers.
Zagala said the top Army post is crucial as it is the largest branch of service in the military with 80,000 personnel and “most engaged in internal security operations.”
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