AFP chief pre­par­ing list for pos­si­ble suc­ces­sor

The Philippine Star - - NEWS OPINION - By JAIME LAUDE – With Jess Diaz, Michael Punong­bayan

Ahead of his re­tire­ment, Armed Forces of the Philip­pine (AFP) chief Gen. Ed­uardo Año is pre­par­ing a shortlist of pos­si­ble suc­ces­sors for Pres­i­dent Duterte to choose from.

“I will rec­om­mend at the min­i­mum three names and then I will sub­mit their names to the Pres­i­dent. It’s the dis­cre­tion of the Pres­i­dent who among them he will pick,” Año said.

He de­clined to iden­tify the three can­di­dates but said all them are all three-star rank.

Año ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the fight­ing in Marawi would be over by the time he re­tires on Oct. 26.

Año was sup­posed to take over the helm of the De­part­ment of the In­te­rior and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment but was pre­vailed upon by Pres­i­dent Duterte to con­tinue as AFP chief amidst the cri­sis in Marawi.

Fight­ing still con­tin­ues in Marawi City with a to­tal of 147 sol­diers and more than 600 mil­i­tants killed in the three months of con­flict since May 23.

“I am very pos­i­tive. I be­lieve so. With the de­vel­op­ments there, fol­low­ing the cap­ture of the grand Is­lamic mosque and the CNB Land­bank build­ing and with the dec­i­ma­tion or re­duc­tion of strength of the en­e­mies, we can end this,” Año told the crowd dur­ing the launch­ing of liveli­hood projects of the fam­i­lies of sol­diers killed in Marawi at Camp Aguinaldo on Fri­day.

De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana said if he had his way, he wants Año ex­tended as AFP chief.

Loren­zana, how­ever, said the Pres­i­dent had al­ready de­clared that he needs Año to per­form other tasks in the gov­ern­ment.

Dis­qual­i­fied un­der the oneyear ban for re­tired mil­i­tary of­fi­cers, Año will be serv­ing, for the time be­ing, as the Pres­i­dent’s ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant at the DILG.

“He is very good. He knows what he is do­ing. He is pro­fes­sional... very very firm and he is a thinker who deeply knows his trade. He is an ex­am­ple of a gen­eral. If I were to be fol­lowed, I will have him ex­tended but the Pres­i­dent said he needs him to do other tasks,” Loren­zana said.

With Año soon re­tir­ing from mil­i­tary ser­vice, 21 gen­er­als and colonels, in­clud­ing AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Resti­tuto Padilla, are up for pro­mo­tion.

Pres­i­dent Duterte has en­dorsed to the Com­mis­sion on Ap­point­ments (CA) the con­fir­ma­tion of their ad­vance­ment to the next higher rank.

Maj. Gen. Em­manuel Sala­mat, com­man­der of the North­ern Lu­zon Com­mand (Nol­com), is be­ing pro­moted to the rank of lieu­tenant gen­eral.

Eight se­nior of­fi­cials, Padilla in­cluded, are be­ing pro­moted to two-star rank of ma­jor gen­eral or rear ad­mi­ral.

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