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MANILA - At least 16 senior officers were promoted as the race for the commanding general position in the Philippine Army heats up with the upcoming mandatory retirement of Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes early next year.
Leading the pack of promoted generals is Gregorio Pio Catapang, commander of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) and a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Dimalupig” Class of 1981. He is now a lieutenant general (three-star).
Ricardo Visaya (PMA “Matikas” Class 1983) and Yerson Depayso (PMA Class 1981) are now major generals (two-star).
Visaya is the commander of the 4th Infantry Division while Depayso commands the 9th Infantry Division.
Also receiving their two-stars are Maj. Gens. Gamaliel Cruz, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (OJ4); Domingo Tutaan, AFP spokesperson; Rodelio Santos, commander of 2nd Infantry Division; Oscar Lopez, AFP Resource Management Office chief; and Felicito Virgilio Trinidad, commander of the 1st Infantry Division.
Promoted to brigadier generals (one-star) wereReynaldo Mutiangpili, commander of the 52nd Engineering Brigade, and Henry Sabarre, commander of the 703rd Brigade.
They were joined by Brig. Gens. Teodorico Raqueño, commander of the Communication Electronics and Information Service; Victor Bayani, Office of the Legislative Affairs chief; Ronald Albano, Adjutant General, of the Office of The Adjutant General; Rodolfo Santiago, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations (OJ7); and Rafael Valencia, commander of the 802nd Brigade.
Coballes, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Mapitagan” Class of 1980, is reported to retire early in late January, weeks ahead of his mandatory retirement on February.
Catapang has been touted to be a strong contender for the Army position.
A source said that if President Benigno Aquino III will approve the recommendation made by the Board of Generals, Catapang’s successor at Nolcom would be 7th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Hernando Irriberi.
Irriberi would be succeeded by Sabarre.