Two Army soldiers, one Air Force man and one Navy man are vying for the highest position in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed.
In a text message on Monday, Lorenzana said there are four three-star generals “in the running” for the top post in the military as incumbent AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año is set to retire within 16 days.
The four are: Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom); Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom); Lt. Gen. Salvador Melchor Mison Jr., AFP vice chief of staff; and Vice Adm. Narciso Vingson Jr., AFP deputy chief of staff.
Guerrero and Galvez are from the Philippine Army, Mison is from the Philippine Air Force and Vingson comes from the Philippine Navy.
Guerrero and Mison belong to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Maharlika Class of 1984.
Their upperclassman was Año, who graduated in 1983, and their underclassmen were Galvez and Vingson, members of the PMA Sandiwa Class of 1985.
Galvez is leading troops in Marawi City battling the Islamic State-linked Maute terrorists since May 23.
In 2015, he headed the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities for the government’s side in peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Guerrero was the EastMinCom chief when the Davao City bombing happened in August 2016 in Davao City.
The bombing in the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte was blamed on the terrorist Maute Group and led the President to declare a state of lawlessness in the city.
Guerrero was also among those who opposed the confirmation of Rafael Mariano as secretary of Agrarian Reform.
The Commission on Appointments in August rejected Mariano’s ad interim appointment.
The Philippine Army has dominated the post of AFP chief, a grip broken in 1967 by Gen. Victor Osias, the first Air Force man to head the military.
In 1991, Rodolfo Biazon became the first and only Marine to be designated as Armed Forces chief.