Saturday, November 26, 2011

Who will be the next AFP Chief?

Six of the ten names submitted to the President are members of Philippine Military Academy Class 1978, the same class that adopted former president and now convict, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Two of the names there, Lt. Generals Juancho Sabban and Oscar Rabena have sterling records of service in the military. 

Lieutenant Generals Detabali, Ralph Villanueva and Tabaquero are strong contenders too. I don't know about Mapagu who, early on in this administration, showed a streak of dissent.

Sources in the military however, said that no one among the 1978 PMA Class contenders are fit to become AFP Chief since the class dipped its fingers on the political pond early on. Most junior officers would want an apolitical Chief of Staff, someone who will attend to the numerous administrative problems being encountered by the organisation today. 

That said, Lt. General Dellosa seems to be the strongest contender due to his unblemished record as a professional soldier and his apolitical attitude towards his profession.

Choosing the right successfor for out-going AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Oban Jr is most critical, due to the sensitivities brought by the recent arrest and detention of Mrs. Gloria Arroyo. Talks of destabilization and a reported demoralization among the ranks are two key considerations which the President might want to consider before appointing the next AFP Chief of Staff. 

That was the error made by former president Joseph Estrada when he appointed former general Reyes as his Chief of Staff. Reyes was supposed to be an apolitical and professional soldier until he decided to take matters into his own hands, and thought of himself as another messiah. Reyes eventually stabbed Estrada in the back and supported his vice-president, and now convict Arroyo.

Aside from having a very nice professional record, Aquino should appoint someone with the right mindset particularly on organisational matters. The next AFP Chief of Staff should continue the anti-corruption and professionalism drive of Oban.