A6 Philippine Daily Inquirer Wednesday, July 15, 2009
By Tarra Quismundo
With a report from Julie S. Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao
PRESIDENT MACAPAGAL-Arroyo has chosen another "mistah" to lead a major military
command, appointing Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban as commandant of the Philippine Marines.
Sabban, a member of Ms Arroyo's adoptive Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of
1978, headed Task Force Comet, the military's joint antiterrorism unit, based in Sulu. Sabban's appointment on Monday came two days after Italian aid worker Eugenio Vagni was released by Abu Sayyaf kidnappers. . Sabban will replace Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfmo during a command turnover ceremony on Friday, according to Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., Armed Forces spokesperson. Dolorfino will take over the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom), one of the busiest military unified area commands because of their active campaigns against terrorism
and insurgency in Mindanao. Dolorfino will succeed Lt. Gen. Nelson Allaga, who will retire
tomorrow upon reaching the age of 56 years. Reached by the INQUIRER for comment· last night in Manila, Dolorfino, a two-star general, said in a text message that "there is no promotion or demotion in assignments.'! Dolorfino viewed his new post as a promotion since it was actually held by three-star generals. Being Wesmincom' chief is "better," he said, since he could perform as "ground operator," directly supervising his men. Sabban "is the most senior among the Marines for the position," Brawner Jr. said, explaining that deliberations wertt on long before Sabban succeeded in securing Vagni's release. Nominations went through the Armed Forces' Board of Generals, Department of National Offense and, finally, Malacañang, Brawner Jr. said.
Sabban, he said, was among those on the short list. "We're expecting that General Sabban can do a good job as commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps. He has done a good job as commander of Task Force Comet and, of course, our chief of staff, Gen. Victor Ibrado, has full trust and confidence in him," the military spokesperson said. Sabban was known to have taken part in the December 1989 coup attempt against then President Corazon Aquino, alongside his mistah, Army Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, as members of the Young Officers' Union. Lim is now detained on rebellion charges. But the military believes in second chances, Brawner Jr. said. "Everybody is given another chance ... There might have been instances in his career where he might have gone against military rules and regulations, but everybody's given an equal chance to prove himself." In May, one of Ms Arroyo's most favorite generals, Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, became chief of the Philippine Army, the largest military service command. The assignment was widely believed to be preposturing for his eventual ascent to the military helm by election season
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