By Francis Wakefield
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo Friday said there is nothing irregular with the designation of Lieutenant General Rozzano Briguez as the new commanding general of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) replacing Lieutenant General Galileo Gerard Kintanar Jr.
In a statement, Arevalo said Kintanar was replaced not for any issues of corruption or anomalies as insinuated by some posts in social media, reiterating that the recent change in the PAF leadership is part of the ongoing movement in the top posts in the AFP hierarchy.
“A few days ago, with the retirement of Lt. Gen. Rafael Valencia, his post as inspector general was filled by Lt. Gen. Paul Atal who yielded his post to Maj. Gen. Noel Clement. That rendered the latter’s post as commander, 10th Infantry Division vacant. We expect further movements in the top level AFP leadership with the impending retirement of General Carlito Galvez, Jr. as AFP chief of staff,” Arevalo said.
“As has been announced, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, Jr. replaces him and thereby renders his post as commander, Eastern Mindanao Command vacant,” he said. “The Board of Generals has convened to deliberate on the movements in the AFP’s top posts,” he added.
Arevalo said as a dynamic organization, AFP officers are accustomed to such movements. “The end view is to ensure continuity and seamless transitions in command and leadership that bear on accomplishing our 83-year old mandate of protecting the people and securing the state,” Arevalo said.
Meanwhile, Department of National Defense (DND) spokesman Arsenio Andolong clarified that as per the directives of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Kintanar is still in the military service and will be given a new post.
“According to the SND (Secretary of National Defense), he will be given a new position in the AFP,” Andolong said.
Briguez is a member of the “Sinagtala” Class of 1986 of the Philippine Military Academy. Prior to his appointment as chief of Air Force, Briguez also held the position of head of the AFP-Western Command (AFP-WesCom) in 2017.
Briguez also held previous assignments such as vice commander of the Air Force, chief of air staff of the Air Force, commandant of cadets at the PMA, and assistant chief of air staff for operations at the Air Force.
AFP Public Affairs chief Col. Noel Detoyato earlier said Briguez replaced Kintanar who had to give way to a junior officer. He also reiterated that Kintanar, who was appointed as PAF chief in October 2017, was not relieved due to corruption.
“There is no issue of corruption whatsoever, it is for the professional growth of the whole organization,” Detoyato said. “No, he is not relieved for corruption. It’s just to give way for the junior officers. That’s how professional and dynamic the organization is,” he added.
When asked if both officials talked about the change in the leadership of PAF, Detoyato said he is not privy to it. “Hindi na kami privy kung anong napag-usapan nila pero (We are not privy to what they have talked about but) the other one gave way, it’s not for anything else, if you put first the growth of the organization beyond the personal),” Detoyato said.
“Kasi (Because) the junior officers has to go up, so the dynamism of the AFP organization is if the junior officers have to go up, the older ones have to give way,” he said.
Detoyato said Kintanar, who is set to retire from the military service in January 2020, could opt for early retirement or be appointed to a position fitting his rank.