PRESUMPTIVE President-elect Rodrigo Duterte wants the Armed Forces of the Philippines to totally crush the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and to actively join the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, a top military official disclosed Monday.
This according to Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the Southern Luzon Command (Solcom), after he emerged from a meeting with the Davao City mayor and some retired AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) officials in the city Sunday night.
“He wants to eliminate the Abu Sayyaf before his term ends,” Visaya said in Filipino.
It had been reported in the media that Visaya, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1983, was Duterte’s choice for the top military post.
Asked if it was mentioned in the meeting that he will be the next AFP Chief of Staff, Visaya said: “I am being considered.”
He added that Duterte would want the AFP to support the anti-illegal drugs group consisting of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
For his exemplary performance in the military, Visaya has received numerous recognitions, including the Cavalier Award for Army Operations, which is the most coveted award that a PMA alumnus can receive; Distinguished Service Star, 10 Bronze Cross Medals, two Gawad sa Kaunlaran awards, 45 medals on Military Merit, and 13 medals on Military Commendation, among others awards.
He also earned his master’s degree in Project Management at the Australia Defence Force Academy, in Canberra in 2002, and attended the Executive Course at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, in Honolulu in 2006.
But Visaya pointed out that it’s not the number of awards an officer has received that matters most “but the attitude to excel, to do the very best in every endeavor.”
At present, the AFP is headed by Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda in an acting capacity, following the retirement of Gen. Hernando Iriberri on April 22.
Besides Visaya, Duterte is reportedly eyeing Chief Supt. Ronald de la Rosa as the next PNP chief, presently headed by Director General Ricardo Marquez.
De la Rosa, a member of PMA Class 1986, was ordered relieved as commander of the Reactionary Standby Support Force (RSSF) days before the May 9 elections, following statements he made on his Facebook account that showed him favoring Duterte. FERNAN MARASIGAN