Promotion of Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hernando Iriberri and 104 senior military officers was confirmed on Wednesday by the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).
Iriberri, a member of Philippine Military Academy “(PMA) Class of 1982, got his fourth star last August, two weeks after he assumed the top post of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), replacing General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr.
The CA confirmsed the promotion of the military officers with no objections raised during a hearing of the CA panel on National Defense headed by Rep. Antonio del Rosario.
Iriberri was the commanding general of the Philippine Army (PA) before he was named the chief of staff of the AFP.
He also served as the Commander of the 503rd Infantry Brigade, 5th and 7th Infantry Division, as well chief of the United Command Staff of the Southern Luzon Command.
Iriberri is also a recipient of various awards, including five Distinguished Service Star medals, an Outstanding Achievement medal, two Gold Cross medals and numerous military merit and commendation medals.
“I’m really happy and I can now focus on implementing the directions that I have set for the Armed Forces including those areas that need special attention that would redound to the enhancement of the capability of the Armed Forces,” Iriberri said in an interview with reporters after the CA confirmation.
As head of the military, he added, he will focus on four areas, including winning the peace and securing the peace, transforming the armed forces, implementing national policy and upgrading capability.
Meanwhile, the AFP chief denied involvement of the military in the death of three lumad leaders in Surigao del Sur.
“I can assure them that as Chief of the Armed Forces, that I cannot allow, based on the accusations that the Armed Forces is involved in any human rights, that to happen especially in my birthplace or even anywhere in the country,” Iriberri said
On the issue on his two Gold Cross medals, the AFP chief said the matter had been raised before and anyone can easily check how he was able to get the medals.
“I am not the one who awarded the medals, it was awarded to me by units like the Philippine Army, Southern command, and you can ask my colleagues about it,” Iriberri said, adding that one of his Gold Cross medals was awarded by then-AFP Southern Command chief Roy Cimatu.
The Gold Cross Medal is a decoration that recognizes gallantry in action.
“It will be self-serving if I will be the one to explain. Just look at the citations and ask the people and units who gave the award,” Cimatu said.