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Catapang cancels farewell visits; Aquino interviews more generals

/ 06:54 PM July 08, 2015

Outgoing Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr., who is retiring on Friday, has cancelled his farewell visits in major services and area commands on Tuesday and Wednesday due to bad weather.

On Wednesday, the testimonial parade in honor of Catapang by the Philippine Army, Air Force and Navy at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig were cancelled due to intermittent monsoon rains.

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His scheduled farewell visits to Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City; Western Command in Palawan; and Eastern Mindanao Command in Davao City on Tuesday were also cancelled due to the rains.

“Because of the very severe rains, he opted to alert the General Headquarters as well as the major services para sa humanitarian assistance and disaster operations,” AFP spokesperon Brigadier General Joselito Kakilala Jr. told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo.

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The state weather bureau said the rains will continue until the weekend due to the rains from Typhoon Falcon enhanced by the southwest monsoon.

READ: Luzon, Western Visayas brace for ‘habagat’

If the weather does not improve on Friday, Kakilala said they have a backup plan if the turnover ceremony cannot be held outdoors.

The turnover ceremonies of the AFP change of command are usually done at the General Headquarters Grandstand, but if the rains would not stop on Friday, it would be held indoors at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club.

“With this kind of severe rain, may Plan B naman. But so far it’s still Plan A,” Kakilala said.

The venue of the turnover ceremony on Friday, which would be led by President Benigno Aquino III, will be likely determined on Thursday, he added.

Contenders for the AFP leadership include Army chief Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, Western Command chief Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez, Central Command chief Lt. Gen. Nicanor Vivar.

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Aquino interviews more generals?

A high-ranking military officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Aquino interviewed four Army officers on Wednesday, other than the five contenders for the AFP chief post.

The officer said Aquino met Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, 10th Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Eduardo Ano, 7th Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Glorioso Miranda and 3rd Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero.

Asked if this means that Aquino is already looking for replacements for the Army chief post that would be supposedly vacated by Iriberri, the officer said: “I don’t know, maybe this is for a deep selection process.” TVJ

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TAGS: AFP chief, Armed Forces of the Philippines, bad weather, Gregorio Catapang Jr., Joselito Kakilala Jr., Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, Lt. Gen. Nicanor Vivar, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, Southern Luzon Command, Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez
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