By Jefferson Antiporda, Reporter
The Armed Forces chief, Gen. Hemogenes Esperon
Jr., on Wednesday disclosed that there will be changes from top to
bottom in the military during the second half of the year. He is set
to retire from the service this month.
Esperon, however, assured that despite the
planned changes, there will be no let-up in military operations and
that the Armed Forces will continue to improve its performance with
the new set of officers.
“But you will see how the AFP [Armed Forces of
the Philippines] works even with the changes,” he said after a
turnover where Lt. Gen. Cardozo Luna succeeded Lt. Gen. Antonio
Romero 2nd as Vice Chief of Staff.
Romero is set to retire on June 25. He will be
taking leave of absence on May 8.
Romero is expected to given a post at the
Department of National Defense either as assistant secretary or
undersecretary, and will be handling modernization affairs. His new
job, he said, will just be a continuation of his former job as the
chairman of the Armed Forces Capability Development Board.
“There is an offer [at the Defense department]
but it has to be approved by the President [Gloria Arroyo],”
Romero told reporters.
He said his new assignment will depend on the
recommendation of Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro.
Several commands will also undergo leadership
changes including the Army, Esperon said.
Among those that will be affected, he added, are
the National Capital Region Command, headed by Maj. Gen. Fernando
Mesa, and Maj. Gen. Armando Cunanan, who heads the Eighth Infantry
Division. Both are also retiring in June.
“Many reassignments have been approved, but
there will be ensuing vacancies that have to be occupied,” Esperon
On Tuesday, Teodoro announced the approval of
appointments of six senior military officers to key positions, upon
the recommendation of the Armed Forces Board of Generals.
The appointments included those of Luna and Lt.
Gen. Rodolfo Maclang, who will be designated as the new Armed Forces
deputy chief of staff. Maclang’s post as Northern Luzon Command
chief, will be assumed by Maj. Gen. Isagani Cachueta.
Lt. Gen. Pedro Insierto will be the new chief of
the Armed Forces Central Command; Maj. Gen. Armando Cunanan, the
chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command; and Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado,
the new Philippine Army chief replacing Gen. Alexander Yano, who
will replace Esperon.
Also on Tuesday, the military chief of staff
swore in Maj. Gen. Delfin Bangit as the new commander of the
Southern Luzon Command. Bangit was the former head of the
Presidential Security Group.
As Esperon ends his service in the military, he
said he sees no reason to apologize to the public as demanded by 28
military officers who are facing a court-martial for their
involvement in the failed February 2006 coup attempt.
“Why should I apologize? I will [still] do the
same, confine them [to detention] if they do such things. We simply
have to enforce the rules and regulations,” he said, reacting to
the statement of the 28 officers that was posted on the Internet.
The officers facing trial said in the statement
that Esperon should ask forgiveness from Filipinos and from the
members of the Armed Forces for “prostituting” the organization.
“We might consider pardoning Mr. Esperon for
the crime he committed in the 2004 elections as long as he shows
remorse and is willing to face the criminal and military justice
system,” the statement said.
The 28 officers, 27 of whom were arraigned on
Tuesday, include former Marine commandant Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda,
former Scout Rangers chief Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, and Col. Ariel
“I do not know if they have to apologize for
bringing in so much trouble and for the instability that they caused
for doing their actions. Anyway that is now subject to court
proceedings, so let us see who should, who is guilty [and] who is
not,” Esperon said.