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New army chief: Upperclassmen support me

MANILA, Philippines—Amid speculations that he had gotten his new position due to lobbying from some powerful personalities, newly appointed army commanding general Major General Emmanuel Bautista on Thursday claimed that upperclassmen had vowed to support his term as army chief.

According to Bautista, he believes in the professionalism of members of the army, adding that this is not the first time that an official from a lower class (at the Philippine Military Academy) has been appointed.

Bautista, 53, is a member of the PMA Class ’81. He replaced Lieutenant General Arturo Ortiz, who formally retired on Tuesday.

He said that he had spoken to some of his upperclassmen from the PMA and that “they pledged, gave me their support.”

Among the senior PMA graduates who will be under Bautista are Southern Command Major General Roberto Morales, Army Support Command chief Brigadier General Arnulfo Palmea, Army chief of staff Maj. Gen. Renato David and Army Vice Commander Brig. Gen. Rolando Tenefrancia, all members of the PMA Class ‘79.

“We are a professional organization, we follow orders, we perform our role, whatever is asked of us we perform,” Bautista told reporters.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippine spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos in a separate interview echoed Bautista statement saying that there is no conflict among senior officials regarding the appointment of the new army chief.

“There is no problem with that. We have existing procedures in selecting officers for a certain position,” Burgos told reporters in a briefing at Camp Aguinaldo.

“Professional naman ’yong organization; we believe all those who have been recommended are capable and qualified,” he said, adding that there is no insubordination within the army.

Bautista is the son of the late Brig. Gen. Teodulfo Bautista, who was killed by rebels in Patikul, Sulu, on Oct. 10, 1977.

His wife, Bernardita, is the daughter of a former Supreme Court associate justice. They have one son.

Before being appointed as the new army chief, Bautista served as commander of the 3rd Infantry Division based in Jamindan, Capiz. He also served as the deputy chief of staff for operations, J3, in 2010 and helped craft the Internal Peace and Security Plan-Bayanihan, which is currently being implemented by the military. Bautista was also a commander of the 702nd Infantry Brigade of the 7th Infantry Divisionin Central Luzon between 2008-2009.

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