MANILA - Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin denied yesterday an online report that he would soon quit his post to give way to outgoing Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista.
“I do not have plans to resign,” he said when asked to react to the report, which claimed that he is already getting tired of the job.
“When you say that I am tired, that’s not true. I am still strong. I am old but I am stronger compared to ordinary people my age.”
However, the 69-year-old said he is ready to step down if President Aquino asks him to do so.
“My service depends on the President. If he wants me to continue, I will continue. If he asks me to resign, I will resign,” he said. “I am thankful that I was given the chance to serve the country.”
An online report published late last week said Gazmin has been telling colleagues that he is tired and that he would soon leave his post to give way to Bautista.
Bautista was a subordinate when Gazmin was a battalion commander, the report said.
The Board of Generals (BOG) is expected to meet today to discuss Bautista’s possible successor.
The BOG will submit its recommendation to Gazmin, who will then forward a shortlist of candidates to Aquino.
Bautista will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 on July 20.
The change of command ceremony will be held two days earlier because Bautista’s 56th birthday falls on a Sunday.
Among the senior officers qualified to succeed Bautista are Armed Forces vice chief Lt. Gen. Gregorio Catapang, deputy chief of staff Lt. Gen. Virgilio Domingo, Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, Navy chief Vice Adm. Jesus Millan and Army chief Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri. – With Ding Cervantes