Monday, January 3, 2011

Pama, new Navy FOIC, seen as doer and planner

By Victor Reyes
Malaya, Monday, january 3, 2010

PRESIDENT Aquino has designated Rear Adm. Alexander Pama as Navy chief, replacing Rear Adm. Danilo Cortez who is reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Tuesday.

Cortez has been acting Navy chief since May last year. He will turn over the post to Pama tomorrow in rites at the Navy headquarters on Roxas boulevard, which will be led by President Aquino.

Pama, PMA ’79, assumed the post of Navy vice commander just last November.

With his appointment as Navy chief, Pama is due for a third star.

PMA Class ’79 now has three members who are three-star generals -- Army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz, Northern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan, and AFP deputy chief of staff Lt. Gen. Eduardo Oban.

More movements are expected in the coming months with the retirement of ranking officers, including AFP chief Gen. Ricardo David, in March.

Pama, before being named Navy vice commander, served as the Navy’s inspector general also for two months. Prior to that, he commanded the Naval Forces Western Mindanao Command and the military’s Task Force Trillium for two years in concurrent capacity, fighting the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.

He also served as senior military assistant to former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro until the latter resigned to run for president. He also served as assistant AFP deputy chief of staff for plans and programs.

Pama also headed the Navy’s ask Force Group Stingray, an anti-terrorism unit, and the Navy’s task groups 61.1 and 61.2 operating in the Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi area. He also commanded a total of six ships, including the presidential yacht BRP Ang Pangulo.

"He is an operator," said Navy spokesman Capt. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo of Pama. "He is also a strategic thinker."

Pama vowed to continue implementing the Navy’s Sail Plan, a concept launched in 2008. The plan’s vision is to have a strong and credible Navy by 2020.

Pama bested a number of contenders for the top Navy post, including his PMA classmate, Rear Adm. Jose Luis Alano, commander of the Navy’s Philippine Fleet.

There are several two-star and three-star flag officers but most of them are retiring. These include PMA superintendent Vice Adm. Leonardo Calderon (Class ’76) and AFP Inspector General Vice Adm. Mario Catacutan (Class ’77) who are due for retirement in March and September this year.

Under the law, no officer can be appointed as permanent commander of the major services – Army, Navy, and Air Force – if he has less than a year in service left.

The controversial Rear Adm. Feliciano Angue (Class ‘78) was reportedly left out of the race because of his pending case in connection with statements denouncing the military’s promotion system and alleged politicking by some senior officials in the May 2010 presidential elections.

He is under pre-trial investigation, preparatory to possible court martial, for alleged insubordination and violation of the military’s Code of Ethics.

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