PSG names new commander, first under Marcos administration

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2022 03:21 PM | Updated as of Jul 04 2022 05:24 PM

Col. Ramon Zagala answers a few questions from the media during the National Heroes' Day exhibit in Taguig City on August 25, 2019/File
Col. Ramon Zagala answers a few questions from the media during the National Heroes' Day exhibit in Taguig City on August 25, 2019/File

MANILA (UPDATED) - Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala on Monday assumed command of the Presidential Security Group, the first PSG commander under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Zagala, who will also serve as Marcos Jr.'s senior military assistant, replaced Brig. Gen. Randolph Cabangbang.

"Zagala is a certified VIP protector as he is a graduate of VIPA Protection Course and held various positions in the PSG during his junior years," a press release from the PSG read.

Zagala was part of the PSG's first Light Armor Company from 1997 to 2000, and served as an aide-de-camp to former President Joseph Estrada.

"My initial assignment here ended abruptly due to circumstances beyond our control," Zagala said in his speech.

"To come back here and complete the task initially given to me 2 decades ago to complete my mission is a privilege… I now have a chance to complete the mission," he said.

Before being named as the commander of the PSG, Zagala served in the following units of the Philippine Army:

- company commander, Charlie "Conqueror" Company of the 24th Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division
- battalion commander, 28th Infantry (Kamagong) Battalion

"Col. Zagala is a seasoned combat officer with 33 encounters against the enemy that spans all levels from team leader, platoon, company and battalion commander," the statement read.

He has also trained in Australia and the United States for various career and specialization courses, it added.

Zagala comes from a family of military officials. His father, Maj. Gen. Rafael Zagala, was Army chief from 1972 until 1975 during the presidency of Marcos' father and namesake, and was reportedly among the "Omega 12" picked by the late dictator in the implementation of Martial Law.

Aside from securing the President and the First Family, Zagala said he will also focus on providing more training for PSG troops, personnel welfare, and stakeholder support. 

“Never underestimate the value of family support. A happy PSG trooper is an effective PSG trooper," he said.

MARCOS THANKS PSG

Marcos Jr. arrived 5 minutes before the event, a welcome change in pace for those who were used to former President Rodrigo Duterte's often late arrival in the past 6 years.

Marcos Jr. thanked Zagala for accepting his new positions, saying he is confident that the PSG would "be able to continue the excellent provision of security to the Office of the President and the First Family as well as visiting heads of states and diplomats."

"What you are guarding is not just the first family, but you are guarding and keeping safe an institution," Marcos Jr. said.

"Should you fail in your mission that institution will collapse… that is why we only pick the best personnel we have in the military to join the PSG.”

The President also thanked the outgoing PSG chief for "taking steps towards ensuring the completion of several key PSG facilities" including a station hospital and the Women Auxilliary Corps Barracks within the PSG compound.

"The completion of these key infrastructures will certainly help strengthen the PSG," the President said.

"It will also inspire the entire PSG to strive for excellence whatever their position may be," he said.

Cabangbang, who served as PSG commander for 10 and a half years, assured Marcos of his personnel's competence, calling his stay in the PSG the "most wonderful time of my entire service."

“I leave you with dedicated soldiers whose sole desire and reward is to keep you safe and protected at all times," Cabangbang said.

"I’m very happy that you won. My father would have loved to see this moment. He worked before for Pres. Marcos Sr.," he added.