Catapang is new AFP vice chief
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 22, 2014 - 11:09am

MANILA, Philippines - A member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class ’81 has been named as the Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff, the second highest position in the military.

Lt. Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr., the outgoing commander of the Tarlac-based Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), was designated to the post last week.

President Aquino approved Catapang’s designation on May 16, a Malacañang letter addressed to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin showed.

While the Vice Chief of Staff is next only to the Chief of Staff in terms of position, it is not a coveted assignment because it is perceived as an office job.

Catapang succeeded his classmate, former Armed Forces Vice Chief Alan Luga, who retired from the service last May 11.

Prior to his appointment as NOLCOM commander, Catapang served as chief of the Army’s 7th division based in Nueva Ecija.

He was also the former commander of the 703rd Infantry Brigade and a member of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement during his younger years.

In February, Catapang was  touted as one of the possible successors of then retiring Army chief Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes.

The post, however, was given to PMA class ’83 member Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, former chief of the 7th Infantry Division and erstwhile senior military adviser of Gazmin.

Prior to his appointment as Vice Chief, Catapang was regarded as a contender to succeed Armed Forces Chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, who will bow out of the service on July 20.

It remains uncertain whether Catapang’s appointment as Vice Chief would affect his chances to become the next leader of the 125,000-strong armed forces.

Catapang will reach the mandatory age of 56 on July 11, 2015. However, he remains qualified to become the next military chief because the post is not covered by the law that bars the promotion to the next rank of officers with less than a year left in service.

Besides Catapang, other officers that are said to have strong chances to succeed Bautista are Iriberri and Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, a graduate of PMA class ’82 and former member of the Presidential Security Group of then President Corazon Aquino.

Iriberri will reach the mandatory retirement age on April 22, 2016 while Delgado is scheduled to hang up his uniform on March 20, 2016.


 

ARMED FORCES CHIEF GEN ARMED FORCES VICE CHIEF ALAN LUGA ARMED FORCES VICE CHIEF OF STAFF BESIDES CATAPANG CATAPANG CHIEF CHIEF OF STAFF DEFENSE SECRETARY VOLTAIRE GAZMIN EMMANUEL BAUTISTA GREGORIO CATAPANG JR. VICE CHIEF
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