Bangit may go on early retirement

June 11, 2010 8:28 pm 

MANILA, June 11 – Armed Forces chief Gen. Delfin Bangit on Friday said he is considering relinquishing his post and go on an early retirement before incoming President Benigno Aquino III assumes the presidency on June 30.

Interviewed after the military paid testimonial parade in honor of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Bangit said he would make the formal announcement in due time.

A military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Bangit was seriously studying bowing out of the service in the coming weeks.

“Why would you retire before a president that doesn’t like you? He may retire earlier than June 30. Anytime, he can retire,” the official said.

Earlier, Aquino said that he would not keep Bangit as his AFP chief. If he stays as AFP chief until June 30, Bangit would have to relinquish his post to another officer in front of Aquino. The president traditionally presides over such rites.

Another source said the Army has scheduled a testimonial parade and review in honor of Bangit on Monday, indicating that Bangit is on his way out. Bangit confirmed that a testimonial parade was arranged by the Army on Monday but did not elaborate.

“We are still studying what [is} the good move. But whatever it is, whatever I will do will be for the good of the Armed Forces,” said Bangit.

Bangit said he was willing to go on early retirement, adding: “Its just a matter of making the decision after proper preparations are made.”

Bangit assumed as AFP chief last March and is due to reach the retirement age of 56 in July next year.

“Stepping down is not the correct term,” said Bangit when asked by reporters if he was stepping down before June 30. When asked what is the right term, he replied: “Whether I will retire or whether I will transfer the (position of) chief of staff. All of these are being studied and I will make the announcement later.”

“Not later than July 1 and I will make the announcement in due time…It hard to answer your questions because I’ve not made a decision yet. With your apologies, I would like to make the decisions before answering some questions,” he said.

Bangit was all praises to the President during his speech as the military, the outgoing president, the traditional testimonial parade and review befit her.

As the president, President Arroyo is also the military’s commander-in-chief.

“We all knew that this time would come. That no matter how good a President is, she has to step down after her term. She had always known that. She had repeatedly mentioned that. Finally now, we give her honors as we bid goodbye,” he said.

Bangit said Arroyo led the military “admirably in many ways”, citing the focus on the modernization of the Armed Forces, the increase in the pay of soldiers, and in the campaign against the insurgents, among others.

“She may have been the most criticized President; but opinion from people who do not know you, who do not know how you work and what your visions are, is understandable. And so we give them the right to express their opinions. In the AFP, we have our own. And personally, I have my own opinion,” he said.

Bangit said he had worked with Arroyo when she was still vice president and “I can personally attest to her concern for the soldiers.”

He said Arroyo persisted on visiting troops, forgetting that his a human who gets tired and needs sleep.

“She honors our sacrifices, respects our opinion on how we see things, and treats us honorably. It is probably no secret that she is strict and would always demand the best in you. I have received her ire for more than I could count. But at the end of it all, a leader sees what we do not see in our shortsightedness. Later on, we realize the wisdom of the decision. And we learn. I hope you also have the opportunity to learn the same from your superiors,” said Bangit.

“From this Commander-in-Chief, I have also learned that you do not have to lower your standards in order to be viewed a little friendlier. If the good of this country so demands, she says what she needs to say. You cannot really tell how good a leader is on the basis of how popular she is. In the midst of the scandals hounding her administration, while militants were burning her effigy on the streets, she was working. That's where you see the level of dedication. On the part of working in spite of what you feel, I must admit I understand her now more than ever,” said Bangit. Bangit said it may be difficult “to go down from the pinnacle” and “cease to enjoy the honor that used to be accorded to you,”, referring to the end of Arroyo’s term on June 30.

“I have no such worry on her. We give our best contribution wherever we are. Finished or unfinished, we go when we must,” said Bangit, adding that the new administration now has the time to do their work.

“Those who would inherit this administration would have their own time to continue what was started. As professional soldiers, you will and you should obey them. But until they have exceeded the concern, the respect, and the support that President Arroyo has accorded the AFP, they would not be able to erase her contributions,” said Bangit.

“Thank you Madam President. It's been a pleasure to serve this country with you as our Commander-in-Chief,” Bangit said.(PNA) RMA/VR


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