The Philippine Military Academy “Sandiwa” Class of 1985 is the next ruling class in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, replacing the PMA “Matikas” Class ’83 currently being held by Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año.
Many of the Matikas class members were also appointed in key positions in the Duterte government.
Año, who has been repeatedly announced by President Rodrigo Duterte as his choice to lead the Department of the Interior and Local Government, will reach his mandatory retirement age of 56 on Oct. 26 this year.
He will replace Ismael Sueno who was sacked by Duterte because of allegation of corruption in the procurement of multi-million worth of fire trucks.
Reportedly in the race to the military top position to replace Año are Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr., Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) chief Major General Benjamin Madrigal Jr., and 1st Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista.
One of these Sandiwa generals will soon get the most-coveted position.
But according to Duterte, Año could not immediately assume his new government position because of the one-year ban of Republic Act 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, “no retired or resigned military officer or police official may be appointed as Secretary within one year from the date of his retirement or resignation.”
If not for the outbreak of the Marawi conflict by the ISIS-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups, Ano could have been at the DILG post after Duterte asked him to retire early retire. As a result, Duterte ordered the recall of Ano’s early retirement and extended his stint to another six months.
The Marawi conflict had frustrated the supposed assumption to the military top post of Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero (PMA “Maharlika” Class ’84), the batch that took Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte as honorary member.
This time, it looks like Ano’s retirement is on track and Duterte said he will take the general as his senior aide in Malacanang while waiting for the one-year ban.
Before Ano, his classmates, retired Gens. Hernando Irriberi and now National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Ricardo Visaya also became AFP chief.
Another classmate, retiring Army chief Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda also served as acting AFP chief during the 2016 presidential election until Duterte appointed Visaya as his first military chief.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Madrigal turned over his former command to his successor Maj. Gen. General Ronald Villanueva, former Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Villanueva is also a Sandiwa member.
ISAFP is now led by Brig. Gen. Macairog Alberto (PMA “Sinagtala” Class ’86.
Camp Aguinaldo sources said there will be more reshuffle of key positions that include the top position of the Civil Relations Service (CRS), a two-star position in the AFP.