Today, Philippine President Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino III named Air Force Lieutenant General Eduardo Oban as the 42nd Chief of Staff of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Many were not surprised with the announcement since Oban was said to be the “early favorite” and the “most logical choice”. The General did not attend the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduation rites at Fort del Pilar, Baguio City where the President did the announcement.
During the ceremony, President Aquino expressed high hopes that Oban would pursue the reforms in the military organization amid the corruption issues hounding the AFP.
But what reforms can Oban implement for just 9 months in the position? He will retire on December 13 this year.
I don’t want to believe that this is a another revolving door policy. So, what is now the difference between President Aquino and former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Arroyo in appointing military leaders? None.
Oban will assume office after the formal turn-over of leadership tomorrow since his successor General Ricardo David Jr., retires on March 8 after serving for only eight months. He will lead the hundred thousands of strong-force of AFP at the height of controversies about fund anomalies like million pesos of “pabaon” (send-off gift) for the retiring chiefs of staff and “pasalubong” (welcome gift) for incoming leaders.
After Aquino named Oban as the next AFP chief, some high ranking military officers texted me and vowed support for their new leader.
“We rally behind the new CSAFP [chief of staff of the AFP],” Lt. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan, chief of the military’s Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom), said in his text. Oban and Pangilinan are members of PMA “Matapat” Class of 1979.
However, there are few members (I will not say if they are officers or enlisted personnel) who called me to express sentiments and disappointments.
Goodluck to the Philippine military.