By Anthony Vargas
Several military officials remained clueless on why the testimonial parade and review for retiring Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief, General Victor Ibrado was cancelled at the last minute.
The military set a testimonial parade and review for Ibrado this Friday, but was cancelled late Thursday afternoon after President Arroyo called for a closed-door meeting in Malacañang.
Present in the meeting with the President were Ibrado and Lt. General Delfin Bangit, Army Chief, who is reported to be groomed to succeed Ibrado as AFP chief.
A testimonial parade and review is a time-honored military tradition in which retiring military commanders are given last-minute honors by troops the retiring official has commanded.
Lt. Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr., AFP chief public information officer, said the testimonial parade was ‘cancelled’ to pave the way for a meeting of the AFP’s Board of Generals (BOG).
“There is a BOG meeting called (today) and that is the reason why the testimonial parade for General Ibrado was cancelled,” Brawner said in a phone interview with dateline.ph.
But Brawner could not exactly say when the testimonial parade will be held. He likewise did not disclose the issues discussed in the BOG meeting that forced the cancellation of the scheduled parade.
“I am not privy on that matter, all I know is that there’s a meeting and the testimonial parade was cancelled indefinitely,” Brawner said.
The sudden cancellation of the testimonial parade for the retiring AFP chief fueled speculation within military circles that Ibrado might be given a term extension.
Speculation is also rife that Bangit, perceived to be President Arroyo’s most trusted general, will likely be named as the next chief of staff of the AFP.
The army chief is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class ‘78, which adopted President Arroyo as one of their honorary members.
Another military official said that cancelling the testimonial parade and review could mean only one thing, “That General Ibrado might be given an extension… this is a strong possibility.”