Lieutenant General Gregorio P. Catapang, a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1981 has been named the new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff.
Catapang’s appointment was signed by President Aquino Tuesday.
He will replace Gen. Emmanuel Bautista who is retiring today (July 18), two days ahead of his birthday on Sunday when he turns 56, the mandatory age of retirement in the AFP.
Catapang is currently the Vice Chief of Staff of the AFP, a position he held in May. He was the former Commander of the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) and 7th Infantry Division (7ID).
In appointing Catapang, the President observed the seniority rule (choosing the most senior and highly qualified officer) which is sacred in the military – the first after a number of controversial designations in the Armed Forces.
Catapang bested other contenders for the 45th AFP chief post including Army chief Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, and Navy Flag Officer-in-Command (FOIC) Vice Admiral Jesus Millan. Iriberri is a member of PMA Class 1983 while Delgado and Millan are both members of Class 1982.
The AFP welcomed Catapang’s appointment, saying they are confident that his vast experience and leadership skills will bring the armed forces to greater heights.
A testimonial parade and review was held today at the AFP General Headquarters parade ground in honor of General Bautista, followed by a change of command ceremony to be led by President Aquino.
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