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3 Army generals top short list of next AFP chief

LESS than three months before Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Jessie Dellosa retires, three names belonging to three classes in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) are reportedly being considered strong candidates to the military plum post.

“All of them, I mean the three candidates, are from the Philippine Army,” a senior officer told the BusinessMirror on condition of anonymity.

The source identified the candidates as Northern Luzon Command Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara, a member of the PMA “Matapat” Class of 1979; Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff Noel Coballes, of PMA “Mapitagan” Class of   1980; and Army chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, of PMA “Dimalupig” Class of 1981.

Dellosa will be reaching his mandatory retirement age of 56 in January next year but there are unconfirmed reports that he would be handing over the AFP command to his successor a month before his retirement schedule.

“If I’m not mistaken, General Dellosa would be ready to bow out from the service by December, maybe during the AFP anniversary,” another senior officer said.

Dellosa belongs to the PMA Class of 1979, the third chief of staff appointed by President Aquino.

The process of selection of any senior officer who deserves promotion, including the top military position, starts with the deliberation by the Board of Generals, composed of the chief of staff, vice chief of staff, the deputy chief of staff and the three service commanders—Army, Navy and Air Force. The result of the deliberation is a short list of candidates that would be submitted to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, who, in turn, will submit the list of candidates to Mr. Aquino.

“But remember, the selection at the level of the Commander in Chief is a unique one, he may or may not pick from the short list. He can appoint anyone not necessarily on the submitted short list because the he has that prerogative to do so. In other words, the position of the AFP chief of staff is a political choice,” the source said.

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