Bangit says he's ready to be relieved as AFP chief

May 14, 2010 8:04 pm 

MANILA, May 14 – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Delfin Bangit said on Friday he is ready to be replaced as head of the 120,000-strong military force when the new president and military commander-in-chief assumes office on June 30, 2010.

“We can do nothing about that. What we are saying is that the chief of staff is the choice of the commander-in-chief,” said Bangit, who had been tagged by some quarters as a loyalist of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is ending her nine-and-a-half-year term on the same day.

Congress has yet to proclaim the winner in the presidential elections last Monday. In the unofficial canvass, Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the standard-bearer of the Liberal Party, is leading by about five million votes over his closest rival, former President Joseph Estrada.

“We serve at the pleasure of the commander-in-chief. Whatever he will say, we will follow,” said Bangit.

He did not give a direct response when asked if he was going to submit a courtesy resignation like Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Jesus Verzosa, stressing that the chief of staff just follows any order of the president.

On whether the relief of a military chief will negatively impact on the organization, Bangit said he cannot say this because the military organization has not yet witnessed its chief of staff relieved by a new president.

“We have no experience about it so I cannot say. We have no experience on it,” he said.

If relieved, any of the three-star generals of the Armed Forces can succeed him. The possible front-runners are Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, Army chief Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu and Northern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo David, among others.

On whether the military will pay a testimonial parade in honor of President Arroyo, Bangit said: “We are not yet planning that now. What we are planning now is the giving of a briefing to the next president.” (PNA) scs/VR

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