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NEWS UPDATES 24 July    2010

No more patronage in Philippine army

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday assured the officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that their rights and interests would be amply protected under his watch even as he declared that the system of political patronage in the military is now over.

In his five-minute speech during yesterday’s 53rd change-of-command of the Philippine Army (PA) in Fort Bonifacio, Makati City, President Aquino said that threading the right track toward a better government was not that easy, but it could be done as in the case of the Armed Forces, as reported by the Manila Times.

“We will no longer allow this trend to continue. My belief remains firm—It is not right for the people who care so much for the country and willingly sacrifice themselves . . . be burdened so much,” the Chief Executive stressed in Filipino.

Since assuming the presidency, Mr. Aquino, through the recommendation of the Armed Forces Board of Generals, has approved a series of re-shuffles, among them the change of leadership in the PA, one of the three major commands in the armed forces.

Taking over as new PA commanding general was Maj. Gen. Arturo Ortiz, a medal of valor awardee and member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class ‘79. Before pursuing his new assignment, Ortiz was head of the Special Operations Command. He replaced Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, a member of PMA Class ‘78, where former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was an adopted member.

Mapagu was designated as the new Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff, replacing Lt. Gen. Nestor Ochoa, a member of PMA Class ‘77, who retired from the military service last week.

Prior to his retirement, Ochoa served as acting Armed Forces Chief of Staff for 10 days after Maj. Gen. Delfin Bangit of PMA Class ‘78 was forced to retire six months earlier from the service.

It maybe recalled that before he was officially proclaimed as the country’s 15th President, Mr. Aquino had categorically said that he did not want Bangi to be the Armed Forces chief of staff.

Bangit was appointed by Mrs. Arroyo. His appointment was among those considered as “midnight appointments” made by the former president.

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