Army says new AFP chief is ‘a professional soldier’

By DateLine Philippines

The Public Affairs office of the Philippine Army on Tuesday released a press statement detailing the credentials, political stand, and track record of newly-appointed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief, Lt. Gen. Delfin N. Bangit.

“Lt Gen Delfin N Bangit is a professional soldier. He remains apolitical and was never involved in partisan politics. As a professional soldier, he continues to uphold the Constitution and vowed to do his best to serve the interest of the people and the nation. He will never allow the organization to be used to advance any political interest,” the press statement said.

Signed by Lt Col Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr., Army spokesperson and chief of public affairs, the statement said that while “some active officers belong to PMA classes ahead of Bangit, this does not make them more senior in rank.”

It added that Bangit is the second most senior in the AFP with the rank of Lt. General, the most senior service commander in terms of date of rank, and was the most senior unified commander when he assumed as Commanding General of the Philippine Army.

“It can be recalled that when Gen Alexander B Yano (PMA ’76) assumed as AFP Chief in 2008, his Vice Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Cardozo M Luna (PMA ’75) is a year senior than him at the PMA. This just goes to show that there is nothing extraordinary for Lt Gen Bangit at the AFP top post with his Vice Chief of Staff, Area Commanders and The Deputy Chief of Staff a year his senior,” the press statement said.

It further stated that with regards to competence, “no serious and rational reasons have been presented by his (Bangit’s) detractors about why Lt Gen Bangit is not qualified, except for the reason that he is of Class ’78 where the President is an adopted member.”

“His (Bangit’s) service reputation and accomplishments in handling his past assignments and the great transformation that he has brought the Philippine Army (PA Transformation Roadmap) have been grossly overlooked,” it added.

The statement likewise stressed that it is the Board of Generals that nominates the candidates for AFP positions. “The selection of generals to occupy major posts in the AFP is based on seniority, service reputation, competence and professionalism. There is no doubt that Lt Gen Bangit possesses these qualities. Gen. Victor S Ibrado and other members of the Board of Generals even recommended him to the post.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced the promotion of then Army chief Bangit to the highest post in the AFP last Sunday.

Bangit will succeed outgoing AFP chief, General Victor Ibrado, who will retire on Wednesday, March 10 age of 56, the mandatory retirement age for military and police personnel. (Anthony Vargas)

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