‘Trabaho lang,’ says NOLCOM chief Catapang on reported Army position
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - Lieutenant General Gregorio Pio Catapang, commander of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), described as “call of duty” the rumors that he is being eyed by President Benigno Aquino III for appointment as the next commanding general of the 90,000-strong Philippine Army.
“Kahit saan po tayo makarating basta mabigyan tayo ng panibagong trabaho, trabaho lang po tayo,” Catapang, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Dimalupig” Class 1981 which is also the graduating class of Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista.
“Sa akin kasi sanay na ako sa kung ano man ‘yung binibigay na trabaho gagampapan ko lang. Kaya nga kung ano, what does it take to be a CGPA (Commanding General, Philippine Army), malaking question mark ‘yun dahil malaking trabaho ‘yan. Kaya let’s just wait kung ano ang darating basta as of now naka-focus lang ako sa trabaho ko. Kita niyo naman maganda ‘yung ginagawa natin,” Catapang added, referring to the good deeds military bands were able to raise funds amounting to P300,000 for the victims of super-typhoon “Yolanda.”
In the same interview, Bautista did not confirm nor deny Catapang’s possible appointment to the Army.
“No comment, that question is leading,” he said with a smile.
“Qualified lahat ng generals ng Army. Prerogative ng President ‘yan kung sino ang magiging commanding general ng Army,” he added.
Reliable military insiders from higher headquarters were reportedly saying that Aquino has been weighing whether to appoint Catapang to replace retiring Army chief Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes (PMA “Mapitagan” Class 1980), who is set to step down on February 7 for reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.
Should Catapang be appointed Army chief, there is talk that Maj. Gen. Hernando Iriberri (PMA “Matikas” Class 1983) will take the helm of NOLCOM.
Iriberri is currently the commander of the 7th Infantry Division.
But some sources say Iriberri is also a contender for the Army position because of his closeness to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin who himself was former Army chief.
Iriberri had served as Gazmin’s Senior Military Adviser (SMA) and spokesman for a while.
Iriberri’s movement to a new post, according to sources, would benefit Brig. Gen. Henry Sabarre, current commander of the 702nd Infantry Brigade.
Sabarre is said to be on the radar for the 7th ID position.