Naming of new AFP chief, an exercise of commander-in-chief’s power

March 9, 2010 11:16 pm 

MANILA, March 9 — Malacanang officials said Tuesday President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s appointment of Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit as new Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is an exercise of her powers and prerogative as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, even as they expressed confidence Gen. Bangit will have the support of the whole military.

New Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza said the military is a professional organization with a discipline of its own, different from others, and thus he said, President Arroyo’s decision will be respected and followed.

Press Secretary Crispulo Icban Jr. added that Bangit has passed all the criteria required for the appointment and the latter came out very qualified for the post.

In a radio interview, Icban also sought to dispel apprehensions from some political quarters that Bangit’s appointment was connected to the forthcoming May elections, possibly to advance an election agenda of Malacanang. “These are unfounded fears. Even the President has indicated she will be focusing only on her congressional candidacy in Pampanga.”

Mendoza, former chief of the 150,000-strong Philippine National Police and himself a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy like Bangit, said there should be no doubt about the loyalty of the incoming military chief.

“Once you get into that post, loyalty no longer is personal. It is loyalty to the Constitution and the Republic," he added.

President Arroyo announced Monday her choice of Bangit, commanding general of the Philippine Army, as successor to the retiring AFP Chief Gen. Victor Ibrado.

The President will preside over the turnover tomorrow of the AFP command in Camp Aguinaldo.

Bangit is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1978 and has held many sensitive and significant postings since he became Army chief.

He also held the post of Group Commander of the Presidential Security Group and Commander of the unified Southern Luzon Command (Solcom).

Prior to his post as Solcom chief, he was also the commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division, Philippine Army from September 2007 to May 2008; and Chief, Intelligence Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines from August 2006 to September 2007. (PNA)

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