Is Aquino eyeing gov’t post for retired AFP chief Bautista?
Video by INQUIRER.net’s Ryan Leagogo
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III announced Friday that retired Armed Forces chief Emmanuel Bautista would return to government service, this time as a civilian.
Aquino made the announcement in a speech at turnover ceremonies where Bautista relinquished his post to Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Catapang.
“To those who feel bad that Manny Sundalo is leaving the Armed Forces and serving the public, don’t worry. After a long vacation, about a month, he told me he will continue his public service. To you, General Bautista: Thank you for your service, and thank you very much for your very big contribution,” the President said in Filipino.
The moniker “Manny Sundalo” was played up in social media by Bautista’s subordinates and was even named as a social media icon for helping a civilian in need to airlift her friends who survived a bus crash in Mt. Province.
The civilian was supposedly clueless that she was exchanging text messages with the military chief.
Aquino did not say, however, what post would be given to Bautista who is expected to be back a month after his retirement.
Reports said that Bautista may be the next defense secretary, which the retired official dismissed earlier.
Aquino praised Bautista, whose leadership saw many challenges – from the Sabah and Zamboanga crises, earthquakes and Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), and Chinese intrusions in the West Philippine Sea.
“Sadya nga pong naging mapanghamon ang panunungkulan ni General Bautista. Tinimbang siya nang paulit-ulit; sinubok ang kanyang kakayahan at dedikasyon. At ngayon, walang makapagsasabing hindi siya nagtagumpay,” Aquino said.
But the President expressed confidence with Bautista’s successor, Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr.
“Kay Lt. General Pio Catapang: Hindi naman sa pine-pressure kita, pero bilang bagong tagapagtimon ng AFP, hindi lamang 125,000 sundalo natin ang nakasalalay sa iyong pamumuno; maging ang 98 milyon nating mga Boss ay umaasa sa tapat mong pagseserbisyo,” he said.
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