Major changes in the command core of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are set to take effect early this month with the scheduled retirement of two senior officers holding key military positions next week.
Maj. Gen. Arsenio Arugay, chief of the military’s National Capital Region Command (NCRCOM) is hanging his uniform a month ahead of his mandatory retirement age of 56 on Feb. 9.
The new commanding general of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), Lt. Gen. Pedrito Cadungog is also retiring next week with Malacañang announcing his immediate replacement.
Arugay and Cadungong are both members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1975.
Still in the United States, Arugay, the former chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), confirmed yesterday that he is retiring early to give qualified officers the chance to go up the organizational ladder.
While there was no official announcement yet on Arugay’s replacement, insiders pointed to Lt. Gen. Jogy Leo Fojas, the incumbent commander of the 10th Infantry Division based in Davao, as the successor.
Fojas, who is also the incumbent president of the General Court-Martial trying the officers in the failed February 2006 mutiny, belongs to PMA Class of 1976 like AFP chief Gen. Alexander Yano.
Insiders said the turnover of command at NRCOM would come right after an annual security briefing of President Arroyo next week.
Fojas’ replacement as 10th Division commander is yet to be known but sources said Arugay and Cadungog’s retirement and the promotion of Fojas would trigger major movements in key military positions.
Cadungog earlier said at least four Air Force officers are now vying for the PAF top post that he would be vacating on Friday next week.
He named them as Air Force Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Legaspi, Maj. Gen. Hernanie Perez, Maj. Rolando Capacia and Maj. Gen. Oscar Rabena.
Legaspi and Perez are also members of PMA Class 1976, Capacia is a direct commission officer and a graduate of the PAF Flying School while Rabena is a member of PMA Class 1978, the same class that adopted President Arroyo as honorary member.
“We expect major changes not only in the NCRCOM and in the Air Force but in the AFP command core with the retirement of General Cadungog and General Arugay,” a Camp Aguinaldo insider said.