MANILA, Philippines - Outgoing Armed Forces of the Philippines Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang bid goodbye yesterday to the AFP’s top officials, most of them contenders for the post he will vacate seven days from today.
Catapang will relinquish command on Friday, a day before he bows out of military service on July 11, his 56th birthday.
Malacañang has yet to announce his replacement.
Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, said the Board of Generals has come up with a shortlist from which President Aquino, as commander-in-chief, will pick the next AFP chief.
While Cabunoc declined to name names, sources said the contenders have been narrowed down to Army chief Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado and Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visayas.
Also being considered are Central Visayas Command chief Lt. Gen. Nicanor Vivar and Western Command chief Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez.
All the contenders are set to retire next year: Lopez on Feb. 17; Delgado, March 20; Iriberri, April 22; Vivar, Aug. 12; and Visaya on Dec. 8.
Aquino earlier said he prefers to appoint younger generals who will serve beyond his term, which will end in June next year. – Jaime Laude, Non Alquitran
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